The Queensland Catholic Schools and Colleges Music Festival (QCMF) is the premier event on Queensland’s Catholic Schools and Colleges annual music calendar and is proudly hosted Villanova College (Coorparoo). QCMF showcases the very best in music education, covering a diverse range of genres within the classical and contemporary styles. Performers range from six to eighteen years of age and participate in brass, wind, string, percussion, jazz and choral ensembles. The festival traditionally occurs during the last weekend of the Brisbane Exhibition in August.
QCMF has evolved significantly over the last 30 years. The first festival – conducted in 1991 – attracted a total of 12 schools and colleges delivering 43 ensembles. By contrast QCMF 2019 ran for four days across eight separate venues, welcoming 111 schools and colleges from various locations throughout Queensland, interstate and overseas, bringing with them 579 separate ensembles with 14,965 student performances receiving comments from nationally recognised adjudicators.
QCMF attracts more than 20,000 people annually. Its success is a testament to the selfless dedication of the Festivals more than 500 volunteers, innovative management and planning teams and the generosity of its sponsors.
The History of QCMF
The Queensland Catholic Schools’ & Colleges’ Music Festival has had an exciting history since its creation in 1991. At that time a number of staff from Villanova College Coorparoo, who had developed their own school’s comprehensive instrumental music programme, were lamenting the lack of quality performance opportunities for ensembles from Catholic schools.
Opportunities for Catholic schools to perform, to come together, to listen to one another and to get good positive feedback from professional adjudicators were few indeed. Armed with these goals and good doses of enthusiasm and perseverance QCMF was born.
A distinguishing characteristic of QCMF is that it aims to be positive and non-competitive, while still providing recognition to outstanding performances. Every performing ensemble will be adjudicated against at set of criteria, with directors receiving positive and constructive feedback, allowing this to be an educational experience for all involved. The adjudicators for each section have the task of not only providing constructive feedback, but also assigning every ensemble with either a gold, silver or bronze rating based on the section criteria. There is no ranking or comparison between ensembles, and each section will have a completely different combination of gold, silver and bronze awards, depending on the adjudicators’ impressions.
The important thing to stress is that every performance is a success for all of the reasons that we involve music in our educational philosophy – the merits of teamwork, overcoming challenge, improving confidence, increasing brain activity and learning how to express a thousand different emotions through the language of music!
The History of the QCMF Acronym
The festival first carried the name of The Catholic Colleges’ Music Festival (CCMF), as early participants came mostly from established Brisbane Independent Colleges, which had a tradition of music established by their founding religious orders. Within a few years, the growth of the festival and consequently increasing costs, lead to a search for sponsorship. This resulted in the Festival reaching a wider audience and being renamed the Queensland Catholic Colleges’ Music Festival (QCCMF) as schools from outside the metropolitan area were coming in numbers to take part in the weekend of music. A few years ago the festival the name changed to include the word ‘Schools,’ to better reflect the name of all participants, thus creating the Queensland Catholic Schools’ & Colleges’ Music Festival (which would be QCSCMF). Whilst this title now accurately reflects the heavy involvement in the festival of Catholic primary and secondary systemic schools from Brisbane and beyond, the organising committee has decided to spare everyone the confusion and retain the acronym of QCMF as it is known by most!