Mr CRITTENDEN (Wyong—Parliamentary Secretary) [6.52 p.m.]: Honourable members will recall that last week I brought to the attention of the House the excellent school band of Kanwal Primary School, an annual performance that I was fortunate to attend on 18 November. It must be the season for band performances, because the Gorokan Public School had its band concert on Saturday 25 November. In addition to the contribution from the school band, the school choir gave a rendition of Christmas carols. At the conclusion of the night the band and choir gave a joint musical presentation.
I would like to draw to the attention of the House, and compliment, the Gorokan High School students who give up their own time on Monday afternoons between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to tutor Gorokan primary students on their respective musical instruments. The Gorokan High School students also give their time on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, when Gorokan Public School students who are members of the band attend the high school for musical tutoring. The band comprises students from grades 3 to 6 whose ages range from 8 to 12 years. Of course, these extracurricular activities happen only with the support of the teaching staff and the school community. The school principal, Ms Kerry Sweeney, is very supportive of the band.
The students from Gorokan High School who provide tutoring are Paul Harvey, on trombone; Michael Coggan, also on trombone; Sarah Brydson, who assists with clarinet; Wendy Neil, also on clarinet; Aaron Drew, on percussion; Jason Foy, assisting with percussion; James Barnett, assisting with saxophone; Chris Meikel, on trumpet; Trent Moore, on trumpet; and Kylie Streater, on flute. Jason Foy, whom I have known for a number of years, is now attending the University of Newcastle, training to be a music teacher. His great love of music comes from his involvement in music at the Gorokan High School, and particularly from the mentoring of the music teacher who was at Gorokan High School at the time but who embarked on a venture which, though perhaps not a great commercial success, brings a lot of musicality to public schools and high schools in my area. I speak, of course, of John Hibbard. John has been a tower of strength in providing students in the northern part of the Wyong shire with music opportunities.
The teachers involved in the choir presentation, Mrs Foley and Ms O'Neill, certainly did a great job in preparing the choir for the singing of Christmas carols. Importantly, Ms Judy Lees, a permanent part-time teacher at the Gorokan primary school, assists with the playing of the clarinet. Judy, who does not teach on Mondays, has gone to the school on Mondays to assist with the band. That demonstrates the dedication not only of Judy Lees but of a number of other public school teachers in this State who give of their time generously and freely to assist students at the schools at which they teach. Most parents have purchased instruments for their children. There are a few students whose families cannot afford the cost of a particular musical instrument, and those students either rent instruments or borrow them free. So no student is precluded from involvement with the band because of financial circumstances. That is something that members on this side of politics obviously regard as crucial.
The gala concert performance was entitled the "Gorokan Area Strings". The string ensemble, which has been practising since only May this year, consists of students from the Gorokan public and high schools as well as the Toukley, Kanwal and Mannering Park public schools. The strings ensemble demonstrated a great deal of musicality. Obviously, the majority of the students in the ensemble play the violin, and they have learned a great deal in a short space of time. The parents involved play an important role. Robyn Barraclough, Cathy Berry, Helen Turnbull and Anne Brydson did a great job in support by selling raffle tickets and providing supper on the night.