Andrew Chinn performs at St Mary’s Primary School

By Ashlea Witoslawski

There was a lot of music, dancing and laughter at St Mary’s Primary School yesterday as students received a visit from Australian religious songwriter Andrew Chinn.

Mr Chinn was a teacher for 20 years in Catholic schools across NSW with a passion and interest in music.

After losing his daughter, Mr Chinn took some time to reflect on his own life and with the support of his wife Bernadette decided to turn his interests into a career.

‘‘When you lose someone, you start to reflect on your life,’’ Mr Chinn said.

‘‘I had thought about doing this for a while because music is very important to me.

‘‘In 2003 I took a break from teaching and never went back.’’

Since then, Mr Chinn has visited more than 1000 Catholic primary schools across Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada and has released 11 CDs, six picture books and five DVDs.

Based in Wollongong, NSW, Mr Chinn said he enjoyed travelling to the local region, feeling ‘‘very at home’’ during his stays.

Many students at St Mary’s PS are familiar with Mr Chinn’s music as it is used in masses and celebrations among other events by the school, teaching the students about religion, church and school life.

Yesterday, the students took part in workshops, learning the dance moves and songs before a whole-school concert at 2.15pm.

‘‘It’s exciting watching all the little pieces come together,’’ Mr Chinn said.

‘‘I never get tired of it.’’