Stellar Programme at Rangi Ruru – It’s a Family Affair
Three sisters have come together with their mum to talk about the outstanding music programme – the Stellar Programme – at Christchurch’s leading girls’ school, Rangi Ruru.
Established to offer music scholarships and grants as well as enhance the current music programme with workshops, masterclasses, and national and international mentorship, the Stellar Programme is unique to Rangi.
The three Anderson girls, Jessie, Lucy and Pippa, are a string trio in their own right but they all come from different places as far as their music is concerned.
The school ‘music block’, as it’s lovingly referred to, is home to some of Rangi’s most talented Stellar musicians. Pianist and viola player Jessie, who is now studying Music and Psychology at the University of Auckland, is still a regular face at Rangi and says coming back is like returning to “a home away from home”.
“I really encourage everyone to get as involved in music as much as possible. I was a ‘late bloomer’, taking up the viola in Year 11,” she says. “The Stellar Programme helped my life in a direction I never would have imagined. It was actually old girl Bryony Gibson-Cornish – who resides in London and works in the UK and Europe with her professional string quartet, the Marmen Quartet – who really helped me realise that studying music at a tertiary level was actually a possibility, especially as I started so late. I played with her during a residency at Rangi that was part of the Stellar Programme, and it was really influential as far as my options and choices were concerned.”
Mum, Kate Anderson, agrees.
“There is a really effective support system,” she says. “All the older girls support the young ones, and that carries through as they get older. It’s genuine mentoring and role modelling at its best.”
And in true sisterhood fashion, the two younger Anderson’s, Lucy (Year 12) and Pippa (Year 8) are both current members of the Stellar Programme. Lucy plays the cello in the senior orchestra Sinfonia, and sings in the school’s choir, Resolutions, while Pippa – a violinist, pianist and singer – has received a music scholarship for Years 9-13. This will allow her to take full advantage of the opportunities offered as a part of Stellar, including masterclasses with professional musicians and ensembles, additional tutoring, and access to national competitions and events.
“The places Rangi can take us and the things we can achieve when we put in the work and hours, are amazing,” says Lucy.
The family agree that the Stellar Programme has truly transformed them as musicians and young women.
“The girls take from the experience and learning whatever they wish to,” says Kate. “They may not continue with music but they have options and that’s powerful for anyone but particularly young women.”
“It is such an amazing group of girls, and one you don’t see in many schools anywhere,” finishes Jessie.