A BEDRAGGLED but spirited group of ANU students bearing candles serenaded the ANU’s vice chancellor Prof Ian Young as he held a dinner last night for university council members.
A student “guard of honour” had earlier booed the vice chancellor as he emerged from a meeting with School of Music staff.
The plan was that from the Scarf Room in University House, the council would have a perfect view of all of the students, protesting against proposed changes to the ANU School of Music, but on the invitation of ANU Chancellor Gareth Evans, violist Anthony De Battista, violinists Estelita Rae and Tobias Chisnall, cellist Joseph Eisinger and bassist Rohan Dasika headed indoors to perform the first and second movements of Shostakovich’s String quartet #8.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Prof Evans assured students that the performance stream of their studies would be preserved while changes would still go ahead.
While the string players performed, their fellow-students gathered outside with their candles flickering to sing “We Shall Overcome” and a round of “Singin’ in the Rain” to match the weather.
Later the students gathered outside Llewellyn Hall to pack up their instruments and sound equipment, expressing frustration that their pleas seemed to be heard at times and at other times not.
Even more frustrating, according to music students Kit Spencer and Thea Seferovic, was the inaccurate reporting of the School’s annual shortfall, estimated by the university at $2.7 million, but more probably, if profits from letting out Llewellyn Hall were factored in, to be much less. In addition the likely job-loss was far greater that the figure of 10 staff members often quoted.
Organiser of the campaign, postgraduate music student Justin Bullock, told “CityNews” that sometimes there was “a sense of futility” hanging over the protest, student still has plenty of fight left and plenty more music in them to perform and be heard as they were last night.