A musical exchange bringing countries and cultures together

By Heather (Year 12—St Peters student)

Forty-two students from Years 7 to 12 engaged in a variety of musical, cultural and educational exchanges with schools and communities in Hong Kong, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Japan. One of the many aims of the St Peters tour was to share Australian music. We took two newly commissioned compositions by Brisbane based composers that uniquely expressed aspects of our country through music. In return, many of the places we visited revealed some of their culture through the sharing of their music. 

The importance of touring—‘bridging’ music across countries

We learnt different lessons during our tour—the first was how instant friendships were made. No matter what language we spoke—we all spoke the language of music. Through visiting with host families we immersed ourselves in different cultures. We were welcomed with open arms by our designated families and this made the trip special and unforgettable. 

Unique opportunities were all treasured experiences

In Hamburg we were fortunate to participate in workshops with the conductor and other experienced musicians of the Hamburg Philharmonic Players. We played at welcoming schools across the six countries, including St Paul’s College and The Australian International School in Hong Kong. In Finland we delivered performances in Lahti and Hameenlinna! The Christmas concert in collaboration with the Hameenlinna church choir was absolutely stunning only on par with the concert the next day with the Lahti Chamber Strings. 

Inspiring and delighting others

While visiting Copenhagen in Denmark we performed at the International School of Hellerup and visited classes to inspire young children with our music.  This also happened at the Stockholm International School and the British International School where we again ventured into classrooms demonstrating specific instruments. It was during these exchanges we realised how much of an impact our musical tour had on inspiring young children.

Seeing the sights from dizzying heights

Travelling on glass-bottomed cable cars we saw the Big Buddha in Hong Kong and visited the famous Victoria Peak. While in Hamburg we visited the Miniature World and admired unique buildings such as the Elbphilharmonie.  The Christmas Markets were also a sight to behold and we all enjoyed the authentic cuisine at a German Bavarian restaurant. In Denmark we took an incredible boat ride on the canal and also had a night at the famous Tivoli Gardens. In Stockholm we enjoyed visiting the ABBA museum! While in Hameenlinna we saw Hameen Castle, a medieval castle, and explored the markets and history around the area. We were also given the privilege of seeing Lahti’s famous concert hall, Sibelius Hall, and tested out the incredible acoustics. 

Building lifelong friendships

We travelled around the world, shared our music and formed lasting friendships through our performances and collaborations. We were willing to immerse ourselves in the local culture and performed to the best of our ability—despite some tiredness at times. It will be fondly remembered as an experience of a lifetime.