Our much-loved music teacher takes on an important pastoral role in 2020.
In the entrance hall of our spectacular music department, Holyrood, the students have erected and decorated a Christmas tree with photos of their teachers instead of baubles. In prime position on the top of the tree is a star-shaped home-made cardboard frame and a photo of Andrea Biddle with the caption, ‘she’s our star’.
So it’s safe to assume Ms Biddle will be sought after for pastoral care, advice and mentoring by the fortunate girls of Kurrawa next year. And pastoral care is one of the signature strengths of our compassionate, optimistic Santa Sabina.
Andrea Biddle, although still in her twenties, has a long association with Santa. She was a student here from Years 7 to 12, finishing in 2009. She benefitted particularly from the music opportunities on offer, carving out a career as a performer (on the cello) and music teacher. Since 2017 Ms Biddle has been teaching music and specifically composition to students in Years 6 to 12. In 2020 she will have an additional teaching focus on IBDP music subjects as well as her new role in our pastoral program.
‘Pastoral Care is a massive passion and one of the reasons I chose to come back to this community’, she says.
‘It positively shaped my time as a student here.’
As Head of House and therefore an integral part of the pastoral team, Ms Biddle plans on continuing to make the pastoral program accessible and would like to add a further element of enjoyment. The pastoral team across both Strathfield campuses of Santa is led by Ms Ann McGovern, Head of Pastoral Care P–12. It includes our two psychologists Ms Tania Rugiero and Ms Alice Macoun, our Primary Years Pastoral Care Coordinators Ms Helen Dallas and Ms Maria Thompson, as well as all Heads of Houses and Homeroom teachers. Together they are fostering a sense of belonging and community among staff and students and providing support for students experiencing hard times.
Ms Biddle comes from a musical family – both parents are music teachers and her brother works for Amazon in Seattle but also plays viola in the Amazon Symphony Orchestra.
As a Santa student Ms Biddle sang and played cello in six ensembles all the way through her Middle and Senior Years. Her love of music was fostered here but she admits that the music program has ‘grown exponentially’ since she left and is also the reason she became a music teacher.
Despite being a gifted cellist, in demand to perform at weddings, in church services and concerts outside and within Santa, Ms Biddle is more passionate about composing than performing. Unless it’s in the pit, for a musical (she loves them). She says composing is ‘humbling and exhilarating at the same time’.
‘Exhilarating because something you’ve created comes to life when other people are performing it’.
Using composition to keep young students engaged is clearly Ms Biddle’s speciality. When her Year 7 chamber quartet found the pieces they were rehearsing boring and outdated she wrote something new for them, with a contemporary sound and pop harmonies.
The students loved it and performed the piece, ‘Variations on a Theme’ at the recent Principal’s Soirée to the delight of the guests.
Although music dominates her life, Ms Biddle also loves to cook and to walk on the beach, thanks to the soothing and relaxing power of water.
Mindfulness, paying close attention to your thoughts, feelings and sensations as they’re happening, being present in the moment, is an important secret of her success.
As our Holyrood star’s orbit expands next year beyond the Music Department, our constellation of pastoral care specialists will shine even more brightly.