Education Today Logo


Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Students sing their Songs of Belonging with Opera Queensland’s help

News Image

Yeronga State High School in inner-south Brisbane school has partnered with Opera Queensland to develop a stripped back opera to spotlight the stories and vocal abilities of its diverse student body.

The project began with weekly workshops in mid-October 2018 and culminates in a premiere performance of Songs of Belonging at Yeronga State High School on Thursday 29 November 2018.

Guest composer Helen Franzmann, opera singers Jason Barry-Smith (baritone) and Jessica Low (mezzo soprano) and musical director Trevor Jones have worked alongside 18 performing arts students to develop Songs of Belonging over six weeks.

At the core of the production are the students’ personal stories of 'belonging'.

With Yeronga State High School home to a high percentage of migrant and refugee students, feelings of identity and belonging resonate strongly with the students.

The School is arguably one of the most multicultural schools in Queensland, with over 70 cultural groups represented by 64 countries in a school of approximately 750 students. 65% of students are born oversees and approximately 40% of students are refugees, special humanitarian entrants or seeking asylum.

The school’s International Student Program, English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD) Program and the school community have outstanding outcomes in fostering intercultural alliances and promoting the benefits of cultural diversity.

Opera Queensland Artistic Director and CEO Patrick Nolan said Songs of Belonging provides an important opportunity for these teenage students to have their voices and their stories heard.

“At the heart of opera is story-telling with song, it doesn’t always need big sets and colourful costumes to have a profound impact,” Nolan said.

“Creating an opportunity for the students to share their remarkable backgrounds, impressive achievements and aspirations for the future through song, is as much a privilege for us as it is a great experience for them.”

The Songs of Belonging project received a $12,074 boost from the Celebrating Multicultural Queensland grants program in June 2018.

Proceeds from Opera Queensland's 2018 Gala, All That Glitters, supports state wide educational programs and initiatives such as Songs of Belonging, ensuring the power of music and storytelling is made available for both local and regional students and community members.

11 Jul 2019 | National
71,533 contacts go unanswered on Kids Helpline News Image

There are a lot of children in distress and Kids Helpline has been overwhelmed by the demand for its services, leaving it with no option but to leave thousands of calls unanswered. It needs more funding. Read More

10 Jul 2019 | National
Presentations made wirelessly and easily News Image

Having a projector to accompany a talk is great, getting it running is often not so great and with that in mind BenQ has released a new USB-C button kit connectivity option. Read More

10 Jul 2019 | National
Mission Australia urges young people to speak up in Youth Survey 2019 News Image

They often say that the young don’t have a voice and Mission Australia is urging 15-19-year-olds across Australia to speak up on personal concerns and broader issues that are important to them by participating in Youth Survey 2019. Read More

10 Jul 2019
Learning money skills virtually can be profitable News Image

Before you get out in the real world some simulation is a good thing, and money skills benefit from some painless, consequence-less practice.
Read More

5 Jul 2019 | Qld
Kids from remote Yarrabah and Kowanyama communities join inspirational camp News Image

Australian rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston continues to inspire Indigenous kids to strive through the JT Academy.
Read More