For composer Paul Jarman, the essence of the service to their country by former TAS students is not just the long list of names that have served in every battle from the Boer War to Afghanistan, but the mateship and bonds between them.
The internationally renowned musician spent a week this term at the school giving workshops with Music students whilst gleaning inspiration for a specially commissioned piece that commemorates the spirit of TAS.
An artist widely acclaimed for celebrating a deeper understanding of Australian culture and history, Mr Jarman is best known for his choral music and original lyrics commissioned by ensembles and community groups across Australia and overseas. These commissions are as diverse as orchestral pieces for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, to marking the 40th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King for the Boston City Singers, and a tribute to fallen World War One soldiers that has been performed across Europe. His piece ‘Shackleton’ featured on ABC Classics, sung by Gondwana Voices is one of the most popular and widely performed choral works in Australia.
“There would be few schools in Australia with such a rich military history as this, but it is one wrapped up in a country philosophy – rolling up your sleeves and having a go,” he said.
From the first Old Boy to die in the Boer War to the most recent in Afghanistan, Mr Jarman said he was “overwhelmed” by the number of names on the school’s honour boards.
“I’ve been struck by the stories I’ve heard – of school mates who have, by coincidence, lept into the same trenches in Afghanistan; the letter from an Old Boy who saw his old teacher being shot and cradled him in his arms on the Western Front. But I don’t want to write a piece bogged down in history – it also needs to speak to the present and the future of TAS as a co-educational school where that same spirit is carried forward by new generations of students.”
The piece will have its international premiere at a special concert at TAS in October.