Standing nearly as tall as Year Seven student Ethan Hurn, the baritone saxophone may appear daunting – but Ethan insists “it’s just a super fun instrument”.
His outstanding performance and commitment to learning the saxophone were recognised with a scholarship from the Metropolitan Male Choir in September: the June Genders Encouragement Award.
This scholarship will give the St Andrew’s student – who also plays drums and piano – the opportunity to perform at the MCC’s concerts in 2016.
Ethan sees it as a valuable chance to learn from experienced musicians.
“There is money involved but you also get to go to performances and support the choir – that’s what I’m really excited about,” he says.
The scholarship is open for students up to 16 years-old, making 12 year-old Ethan one of the youngest entrants.
He has only been learning the saxophone for four years but is making up for any lost time with a dedicated practice schedule. While 30 minutes of daily practice is his teacher’s expectation, Ethan commits to 45 minutes of his own accord.
“It’s because I just love it and I’ve been brought up with it,” he says.
“My Dad’s a professional saxophone player in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra so he practises a lot at home and I listen to him.
“Mum also used to play piano for (the Male Metropolitan Choir) for 15 years as a concert pianist when she was younger.
“She’s told me lots about it – so that actually makes the scholarship even more exciting.”
St Andrew’s Principal Deb Dalwood has a personal connection to the Choir that makes her especially proud of Ethan’s achievements.
Mrs Dalwood’s father, Don Noblet, was a Choir member from the 1950s and served as its Musical Director from the 1980s to 2008.
“He was always keen to have young musicians encouraged to share their talents and develop further,” Mrs Dalwood says.
“Dad passed away in August this year so this award is a lovely reminder of him, and his love of the choir and music in general.
“Ethan is indeed a great musician in the quality of his playing but also in his persistence and willingness to practise and be an example to others.”