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St Augustine's College

An education in the marist tradition

Performing Arts - Music


The ensemble program at Saints has a strong presence within the College. All students are encouraged to be involved in a variety of musical activities across many styles and genres. Our ensembles have successfully participated in numerous performances, national tours, camps and competitions as well as playing a vital role in the cultural and liturgical life of the College.

The co-curricular program runs alongside our curricular music program, involving many students from Years 7 to 12. Old Boys have gone on to perform, record, compose and DJ professionally, nationally and internationally in a variety of genres and groups. There have also been Queensland Music Award nominees and winners as well as ASME Young Composer of the Year Award winners.

Our co-curricular music program includes over 100 boys from Years 7 to 12 and happens in two areas: ensembles and instrumental tuition. 

For more information about taking instrumental music lessons, please refer to the Instrumental Lesson Handbook.


Saints offers an ensemble-based program, providing opportunities for students to be involved in a wide variety of choral and instrumental groups. Seven ensembles operate within the program each week and cater for a range of students at a variety of ability levels. The choral and instrumental ensemble program is available to all. Students are expected to participate in one or more of the core ensembles to be eligible to participate in our extension ensembles. Our programs work closely with St Monica’s College and share many combined ensembles.


The College has two wind bands (concert band and wind ensemble). The concert band caters for beginner to intermediate students in woodwind, brass and percussion instruments from Years 7 to 12. The wind ensemble is a more advanced group for wind and percussion students with more experience in ensemble playing expected.

These ensembles provide students with musical development in large groups with symphonic repertoire, and performance opportunities are provided throughout the year. 


The string orchestra comprises students of an intermediate to advanced standard. This group provides students with musical development within an orchestra, and there are many performance opportunities throughout the year. 


There is one large choir at the College. The group caters for changed and unchanged voices from treble through to bass. Most choir members also form our core cantor group throughout the year in Masses and liturgies.

Many boys may experience challenges with singing as their voices change. Joining a choir is a positive way to navigate through this and enjoy the performance opportunities provided, while developing their musical skills. Our choir is led by a director experienced in changing voices.


The College has a percussion ensemble, and students who learn percussion and piano are encouraged to participate. This small ensemble assists students to develop their musicianship through reading notation, rhythm and pulse and working together. The repertoire is varied and entertaining, innovative and quirky.


To be involved in an extension ensemble, students must be members of at least one core ensemble and may also need to audition.


The College big band is made up of the most advanced wind and rhythm players in our ensemble program, and membership is by audition only. The ensemble incorporates styles from traditional big band swing, blues and bebop through to contemporary styles such as funk and rock. There is a strong focus on rhythm development and tight ensemble playing where students can develop advanced musicianship skills. Saints big band performs at many key community events throughout the year including Yarrabah Band Festival.


The chamber choir is an auditioned group that features some of the College’s most accomplished singers. This group allows students to further develop advanced choral skills through diverse repertoire. There is a strong emphasis on listening and aural skills along with vocal technique and performance skills. 


Saints encourages all new students to participate in co-curricular music, which aims to involve them in our musical culture and develop skills transferable to all aspects of life.

Every student has the opportunity to learn an instrument, with tuition provided by a number of instrumental staff and specialist tutors. While catering for advanced musicians, the College also offers students the chance to commence tuition at any time.

Students will further develop their musical skills by playing in one or more of the College’s ensembles. For more information about taking instrumental music lessons please read the Instrumental Lesson Handbook.


The College string tutor teaches violin, viola, cello and double bass. Offering students experience in a variety of genres, through individual or group tuition as well as ensembles, she has a wealth of experience as a professional violinist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. 

Our guitar tutors teach acoustic, electric and bass guitar, working on a variety of genres and with students of all levels.


The College’s Woodwind Department offers flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, alto, tenor and baritone sax lessons. A large portion of these students play in the College’s wind ensembles and big band. Our wind tutors offer small group and individual lessons.


The brass instrument section forms a large part of our wind ensembles and big band. Brass tuition at Saints includes trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium/baritone and tuba. Our brass tutor offers small group and individual lessons.


Saints offers a diverse percussion program which incorporates tuned and untuned percussion as well as drum kit. This sets up students with a range of skills, which can be applied to all areas of music, including our ensembles.  


Piano tuition is available to students at all levels, incorporating a range of genres and styles. Lessons are offered individually. All piano students are encouraged to join our ensembles on mallet percussion to enhance their musicianship and performance skills.


All Year 7 students have a six-week rotation in classroom music which involves learning a band instrument such as flute, clarinet, trumpet or trombone. Should a student become more interested in pursuing further instruction on these instruments or any others, they are encouraged to participate in the instrumental music program. The Year 7 band program aims to give students the opportunity to try an instrument that they have not played before. This program has unearthed some outstanding talent.


Concerts are held at the College and at various venues around the Cairns region such as Cairns Performing Arts Centre; often these performances are combined with our sister college. Concert dates and venues are published in the College calendar, in Saints News and on our Art at Saints Facebook Page.


The annual performing arts camp takes place in semester one. The program has a three-yearly cycle; two years out of the three is an ensemble camp, in the alternate year, it is a musical camp.  This intensive weekend gives students an opportunity to be workshopped by professional musicians from outside Cairns and to work as a cohesive musical group.

The ensembles also aim to tour every three years. Over the last decade the College has toured Brisbane, Melbourne and New Zealand.


Saints produces musicals in conjunction with St Monica’s College. The musicals are performed in Lennon Hall and the Cairns Performing Arts Centre, allowing students to experience what it’s like to stage a production at a professional venue. We have performed such musicals as Jesus Christ Superstar, Return to the Forbidden Planet, Addams Family and most recently Fiddler on the Roof.  For students who don’t wish to take to the stage there are many opportunities in costume design, set building and painting, lighting, sound and back-stage management. The production is open to all students.