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Teachers ready to school audience in the art of rock’n’roll

Tribute band to honour those who work behind the scenes at Schools Spectacular.

7 band members stand in a group with drums, guitars and microphones.

Kim Sheehy and the members of the teachers’ rock band.

For 35 years the Schools Spectacular has showcased the talents of public school students, but this year it’s the teachers’ turn to shine.

For the first time since the event began in 1973 a teachers’ rock band will take centre-stage, playing Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’, backed by a 2,800-strong choir and accompanied by an 80-piece orchestra.

Band member and Cronulla High School music teacher Kim Sheehy said the performance would pay tribute to the behind-the-scenes work of teachers who helped make the Schools Spectacular a reality.

“Last year was my first Schools Spectacular and I learned firsthand how much you actually have to give to make this happen for your students,” Ms Sheehy said.

“The teachers’ band is a little gesture and tribute to the teachers who help out and give a hand.”

The department’s Arts, Sports and Initiatives director, Rosemary Davis, said teachers were the “backbone” of the Schools Spectacular.

“They are the ones that give up endless amounts of time and energy to ensure the students are well prepared and rehearsed and ready for the show,” Ms Davis said. “Without their support and involvement there is no Schools Spectacular.

“The teachers’ band is a way we can put the teachers in the spotlight and also showcase some of the amazing, talented teachers we have in our public school system.”

Rehearsals for the band has seen Ms Sheehy, who was on Team Delta in the 2016 season of ‘The Voice’, reunited with fellow contestant Nic Jeffries, who was on Team Ronan in the same season.

She said the depth of talent in the band was not surprising as everyone involved had “played forever in different bands and all of them are professional musicians on the side”.

Despite her positive experience on ‘The Voice’, Ms Sheehy said she was never tempted to leave the classroom, citing the late hours ‘musos’ have to endure.

“I like my routine and structure,” she said. “As much as I love performing, teaching has always been my number one love and music is the hobby on the side.

“It just happened that ‘The Voice’ opportunity came up for me so I thought I would give it a crack.”

Ms Sheehy said music students benefited from the extracurricular band activities of their teachers.

“In the creative subjects it is all good to have the textbook knowledge and know the syllabus, but a lot of our students want to go on to work in the industry so if we don’t have the experience ourselves it is very hard to give them a realistic view of what might happen,” she said.

The seven-piece band was selected through a competitive process with interested staff asked to submit an audition tape.

And while students in the Spectacular have had months to hone their skills, the teachers’ band will be relying on their years of experience to bring the performance home.

“We are lucky we are all working professionally as musicians so we can come together after three rehearsals and it will be tight,” Ms Sheehy said.

The final line-up includes Hornsby High School principal Justin Briggs, Mitch Hutchinson, from Girraween Public School, Adrian Lim Klumpes (JJ Cahill Memorial High School), Arts Unit resources officer Marc Zovaro and Arts Unit tutors Jason Isaac and Nic Jeffries.

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