Culture at Stirling is taken very seriously, both in the number of students participating in activities and in the excellence that our top students achieve. The following students achieved at a national level in 2018:
The Stirling Chamber Choir entered the national ATKV Applouse competition and received the highest mark – 93% - of the 200 participating choirs, being rated by the ATKV as the best school choir in the country for 2018. They thereafter took part in the World Choir Games where they came 5th in their international category with the highest mark of the 20 South African choirs competing. All members of the Chamber Choir received Honours cum laude for this achievement:
Tanique Allers - Distinction for Trinity ATCL (Associate) Speech and Drama Diploma Exam from London, a Drama qualification of a tertiary standard.
Daniel Anderson - Distinction for Associates Diploma Exam in Musical Theatre through Trinity College of London, a qualification normally reserved for university students and drama teachers.
Daniel Brodie - Hennie Joubert National Piano Competition finalist, National Youth Music Competition and the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival and Stellenbosch International Piano Symposium.
Eldene Bruiners - SA Schools Jazz Band (2rd year) - trumpet
Amy du Plessis - Royal Academy of Dance Ballet Advanced 2 exam with Distinction
Sonqoba Njengele - SA Schools Jazz Band - drums
Caitlyn Poole - SA Schools Jazz Band – baritone sax
Nerisha Ramjee - SA Schools Jazz Band – trumpet
Kristen Stockenström - 3rd in Championship section of Highland Dancing National Championships; selected for SA team to attend the World Championships.
Jayson van Rooyen - SA Schools Jazz Band - trombone.
Amy Wilkie - Distinction for AIDTA Advanced Modern Dance exam
At the East London Eisteddfod over the years, Stirling students have regularly won the trophies for Best Instrumentalist, Best Chamber Choir, Best High School Band, Best Jazz Band, Most Promising Brass Player, Best Senior Vocalist, Most Promising Senior Vocalist, Best Brass Ensemble and Best Woodwind Ensemble.
Stirling has one of the best school jazz programmes in the country and 73 students have been selected for the National Band since 1995, many of whom have become professional musicians. Five band members were selected for the national band in 2018. The band has toured Europe, Britain, Zimbabwe, Namibia and all around South Africa (performing in over 20 towns) and performs about 30 times a year at dances, community activities and varied professional venues. The band has performed at the Wigan international Jazz Festival, the Joburg Joy of Jazz festival, the Standard Bank Grahamstown Jazz Festival, the Hilton Arts Festival and many others. They have appeared on national television twice and are one of the best school jazz bands in South Africa, having received the Premier’s Award for Excellence (best junior ensemble in the Eastern Cape) twice. The band has recorded 10 CDs.
There are a variety of choirs for different types of voices and musical styles and the annual Vocal Celebration is always a spectacular show. Stirling is considered a leading school for vocal and choral teaching: in 2016 the Stirling Chamber Choir was adjudged Best Non-Afrikaans Choir in the nationwide ATKV competition and came second overall at the 2017 ATKV national finals. In 2018 they were adjudged the best choir overall in South Africa in the ATKV competition and came 5th in their category in the World Choir Games. Numerous past members of the choir have gone on to study and perform in opera and vocals, with 2014 matriculant Marina Pienaar’s recently awarded a scholarship to the RCM in London after her BMus distinction at Stellenbosch University.
Oratory is an essential social and business skill and the Stirling Debating Team has always done very well in the Border Debating League. Since 2003 twelve students have represented South Africa at Debating or achieved Top-Ten placings at the National Championships.
30 Stirling dancers have received Honours cum Laude (the top award in the school) for passing their RAD or Cecchetti Advanced exams or being selected to represent South Africa in Hip-Hop Dancing. There are two major Dance Extravaganzas each year.
Nine students have been recognised with Honours cum Laude for dramatic performance considered equivalent of a national standard. Stirling students have won numerous Gold awards at the East London and Grahamstown Eisteddfodau, as well as Double Golds, Triple Golds and trophies. In 2014 Mphumzi Nontshinga was one of the six finalists in the national DALRO Arts & Culture Trust Scholarship for the Triple Threat (Drama, Dance, Singing) and in 2016 Robin Castle came 3rd in the same competition. In 2018 Daniel Anderson and Tanique Allers both received Distinction for their Associates Diploma Exam through Trinity College of London, a qualification normally reserved for university students and drama teachers.
The Stirling Chess Team has won the Border League regularly and many Stirling students have been selected for Border Chess teams.
National representation: In the period 1985-2018, 168 (including repeat selections) Stirling students received South African national colours or the equivalent in the following cultural activities: Chess (1), Choir (30), Culture (1), Dance (30), Drama (9), Highland Dancing (1), Jazz Band (132), Oratory (10), Performing Arts (3), Photography (2)