Brentwood School of Music bade a sad farewell to their founder at their end of year recital.
Current owners Mike Preston and Sarah Kerrigan put on the annual recital, with students performing in four back-to-back concerts at the end of May. This year, the school community paid tribute to founder Carrie Dujela, who passed away recently. She opened the school 42 years ago and watched it grow into a familiar part of the Peninsula’s music scene.
It was the first year she hadn’t returned to watch the shows, but Preston says the kids did her memory proud, playing some excellent music in tight arrangements.
The students usually have individual lessons with their teachers but the shows are a chance to play in a group, blending their talents with others. Typically, they practise for a month before the recital and for many it is one of their first tastes of playing in a band. Those who enjoy the camaraderie and creativity of group music can sign up for the school’s Rock Camps in the summer.
“You watch people quickly understand how music is always meant to be played together,” says Preston, “It’s easy to forget as there are so many practice programs and YouTube tutorials, which are great don’t get me wrong, but people end up doing it on their own, and it’s a total different story when there are other humans and everyone is depending on each other’s timing.”
The concerts happened at the Friendship Community Church and consisted of 100 performances, with some students playing multiple instruments.
Preston says Dujela was something of a prodigy on the piano, before she suffered an injury and put her energy into running the school. He and Kerrigan picked up the mantle in October 2016 and have run the school since, working hard to fulfill her wishes to continue building the school’s programs.
He says Dujela was much-loved in part due to the work environment she created and the fair payment to teachers in an industry where peripatetic music teachers are often underpaid. Preston says an indication of the community feeling the school exudes is that third generation students will soon be enrolled and some of the teachers have worked at the school for over a decade.
At the end of year recital Preston shared his feelings about Dujela.
“We told everyone that we wouldn’t have been sitting here watching the show if it hadn’t have been for Carrie. And it was also the way she ran it, there are a lot of times teachers don’t get the best cut of the teaching or it doesn’t seem like much of a community. She was a musician herself and she genuinely cared.”
The concert saw a range of styles of music and covers of hit songs. Preston said, for him, the highlight was hearing students barely into their teens playing with a competence professionals would be happy with.
The school have a range of upcoming programs, such as their popular Rock Camps for experienced students and Meet the…Electronic Instruments for keen newbies.
For a full overview of the programs the school provide visit brentwoodschoolofmusic.com.