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Taylor Scholar – Cassidy Watts

Cassidy Watts (centre) performing at Valedictory Dinner 2021

Established in 2015 by College’s then Chair of Council, Charlie Taylor (Fr 1982), the Taylor Scholar program supports and encourages senior students in continuing to engage significantly and meaningfully with College life after graduating. The aim of the program is to increase the diversity and depth of the College experience.

Taylor Scholars develop and implement a new special interest project or continue and evolve an existing project, related to any aspect of College life that will benefit the College community.

Cassidy Watts (Fr 2019) is one of these scholars. Cassidy grew up in Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley, NSW, attended St Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen and is studying a Bachelor of Music (Composition for Creative Industries) at The Conservatorium of Music Sydney. She tells us more about her project, ‘Composers Create’.

Tell us a little about your Taylor Scholar project

My Taylor Scholar Project combines my passion for music composition with providing the key ensembles here at Drew’s new original music to play and perform. These ensembles consist of the Jazz Band, String Ensemble (Chemble) and Chapel Choir. 

Do you have any collaborators on this project?

Whilst this project is independently run, I have been liaising with the convenors of each ensemble as well as working with the members of the ensembles themselves, to workshop, rehearse and perform each piece. 

Why is it important to you?

As a current member of the Jazz Band and an alumnus of the choir, repertoire is one key component that I have believe crafted my experience in both ensembles. With this in mind, I wanted to create the pieces to reflect the high skill level of all our ensembles whilst still providing a challenge to workshop and rehearse these songs.

What drove you towards this project in particular?

I’m currently in my fourth and final year of uni, studying a Bachelor of Music majoring in Composition for Creative Industries. I wanted to tie in the skills I’ve gained through my study at The Sydney Conservatorium and apply this knowledge for the benefit of the music program here at College not only for this current cohort but for years to come.

What do you hope to achieve with it?

At the completion of this year, I hope to have my pieces performed in a concert setting, providing ensemble members with a performance opportunity and potential studio recording. Throughout this process, I have gained invaluable experience in workshopping original music with live performers as well as hearing my work come to life. I also hope this inspires other composers at College to take advantage of the opportunities offered here to help get their music heard and performed just as I have. 

Any advice for someone thinking about applying for St Andrew’s College?

There is something for everyone here at Drew’s. I took quickly to the music program and found my safe space within College. Whether it be music, sport, drama, public speaking – you name it – there’s a place for it here. Even if not, the odds are that there will be at least one other person who is into the same thing – it’s just a matter of finding them. 

Read about the other Taylor Scholars: Mia Thomas and Cara Skirrow, Alice Litchfield, Lucy Fenwicke, Sam Wright and Kiran Gupta.