Alumni catch-up: Oscar Smith - image  on

Alumni catch-up: Oscar Smith

Alumni catch-up: Oscar Smith - image oscar-playing-organ on

Oscar Smith pictured playing the largest pipe organ in France – St Eustache, Paris.

John Colet School graduate Oscar Smith has just started his first year of a Bachelor of Music Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, a branch of the University of Sydney.

This follows a tremendous result in his IB Music exam last year, achieving a 7/7 (equivalent of a Band 6 HSC) and topping his high school, St Andrew’s Cathedral School, in Music.

Of course, the strong music program during my time (at John Colet) is what initially nurtured my love of music, kindling a lifelong passion, he says generously.

Oscar entered JCS Lower First in 2002 and graduated in 2006. In his final year he was an exemplary Head Chorister, and was in both our Senior Choir and the John Colet Choir from as soon as he was old enough to audition.

Mrs Sarah Mane was his teacher (all the way through, as was our old system) and Oscar was taught piano by Miss Judith Irvine (who was also our Choir Director and has since retired).  Oscar credits them both with being important mentors throughout his primary schooling; fostering his interest and huge ability in music.

He says JCS had other great lessons for him too:

I learned that I am very interested in philosophy through spiritual discussions of different kinds, and also music and discussing music.

This was spurred by the highly spiritual/philosophical foundations of John Colet, which were integrated into every class, and the teacher’s explicit discussion of them with students.  It’s not just the motto or in the mission statements like it is for other schools, it’s the practical integration of spirituality into the entire school life that leads to a holistic experience and understanding of philosophical concepts.

Of his many fond memories of John Colet School, some moments clearly stand out:
Such as intentionally distracting Mr Mane (an easy task!) in Latin by asking how the ear worked.  This resulted in a full lecture and diagram for the whole class &

Singing “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” at our Year 6 Farewell Party; exploring bush ‘out of bounds’ areas, claiming and renaming little sections of the bush; and Mulberry and Honeysuckle picking on Wyatt Oval.

Oscar went on to become Head Chorister, Organ Scholar and Choral Scholar at St Andrew’s Cathedral School.  He says being Organ Scholar was the toughest role bringing high responsibility, constant pressure, and an administrative side as well.

Understandably, Oscar says he hasn’t thought too far ahead yet as far as career plans go &

But hopefully I’ll be able to hold multiple musician jobs in order to make a living (music is tough!), and perhaps move into Music Teaching.  Miss Irvine had hoped that I d come back to John Colet to teach piano and music some day, so that may well be on the horizon.

Thank you Oscar, we would be delighted to have you!