Mrs Carey’s Concert

we went to see this documentary this afternoon, which tells the story of the biennial concert the Methodist Ladies’ College of Sydney hold at the Sydney Opera House. In particular, it follows the course of Emily Sun, who we see as shy but talented violinist, and who becomes an accomplished soloist.

It was beautifully shot and well edited. The quality of the sound was remarkable. I watched with a mixture of emotions. Being opposed to private education (and in particular, government funding of private education), I was pleased that these students had such excellent facilities, and appalled that so many do not. Mrs Carey at one point confronts Iris, an unwilling participant, and reminds Iris that this performance opportunity is a privilege. So many students do not. And I thought that is a shame.

What I did find remarkable though was the quality and dedication of the teaching staff which, even with all the resources available, really defined the excellence of the education. This was a stunning counterpoint to the music itself. Mrs Carey was a guide, a proselytizer for music, a mentor. The relationship between Mrs Carey and Emily was not always easy. But it worked. This film is a wonderful tribute to the students and the teachers who help them to become what they can be. To teachers who will give a piece of themselves to each student, and who will be remembered by them for it.

I also wondered: will the students remember the school librarian as fondly, or at all?

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