Vocal Workshop and Speech Day
In September sixty pupils from the first year began school one day early by taking part in the music department’s vocal workshop. It was a good opportunity for the pupils to make new friends and enjoy a fun afternoon of challenging three-part vocal singing. At the end of the afternoon the First Year Victoria Colton Singing Scholarship auditions were held and George Tuck was awarded the title. In September the Choir gave its first performance on the stage of the Mayflower Theatre for Speech day.
Violin Master Class at the Royal Academy of Music
In September a small group of sixth form violinists attended an exciting violin master class led by eminent RAM professor Gyory Pauk. KES students were able to watch Academy students being put through their paces by a world-class performer and teacher. The music performed included concertos by Tchaikovsky and Mozart. It was a also a good opportunity for the students to meet up with former KES student Sasha Khoushk-Jalali who is in his second year at the RAM
The Producers and the Planets
In October two trips were organised for GCSE and A level music students. The first to the Mayflower Theatre to see the first night of the Mel Brooks’ show The Producers.This show, although not in the best possible taste, was spectacular and very funny.The second trip took students to Portsmouth Guildhall to hear superb performances of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto and Holst’s The Planets by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Congratulations go to Richard Moore who has accepted an Organ Scholarship to St John’s College, Oxford and also to Esther Drabkin-Reiter who has been offered aChoral scholarship at MertonCollege, Oxford.
Avril Freemantle has been selected to play first violin with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for 2007- 8
Anke Batty who left KES this summer, currently reading Law at Oxford, has also had an exciting Summer reaching the final stages of the BBC Televisioncompetition Classical Starand progressing to the finals of BBC Young Musician of the Year 2008.
The Concert held in the Dobson Theatre provided a platform for the school’s senior musicians including the newly formed Chamber Orchestra. This new orchestra runs alongside our larger symphony orchestra and younger Sinfonietta and provides an opportunity for more advanced players to tackle some challenging music. It performed a movement from Schubert 5th Symphony and the first movement of Beethoven’s first piano concerto with sparkling soloist Tom Sharp. Other items included performances from the Senior Choir, Big band and Jazz Quartet with guest artist Mr Murphy from the Chemistry department. There was also an array of advanced solo items from Lydia Drabkin Reiter, Lucy Smith, Avril Freemantle, Kat Daud, Rob Livingstone and Chris Morgan to complete the evening.
Music Tech Concert at the Anvil
On Tuesday 20th November the A-level Music Technology classes, along with some interested 5th years, went to hear Joshua Redman play with his trio in the Anvil. Redman, one of the world’s most respected jazz saxophonists, played with supreme virtuosity and the trio were totally absorbing with their sense of enjoyment and musicality. This concert was a pre-curser to a sold-out gig at the London Jazz Festival and it was an excellent chance to see some truly outstanding jazz playing and the concert was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Wessex Cancer Trust Christmas Concert
The School has taken part in the Wessex Cancer Trust’s annual Christmas Concert in Romsey Abbey for many years, helping to raise over £20000 for this local charity.This year’s concert was once again sold out, with a capacity audience of around 600.The School’s concert band, directed by Miss Dee, led the carols that everyone sang and also played Winter Wonderland as their solo item.There was a beautiful sung vocal duet from Natalie Fairhurst and Reem Katifi, and George Tuck, Tom Durham and Alexander Ferriman sang the verses of We Three Kings with power and style.With further solos from Helena Blackman of TV’s “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” and the concert hosted by Tim Daykin of BBC Radio Solent, this was an exciting and successful evening.During the evening the School was presented with a special award to mark its long and successful connection with the charity and its Christmas concert.Mark Singleton from the Concert Band presented the award to the Head Master in assembly.
Naming of the Ship Queen Victoria
On 7th December 2007 the £300 million and 2,000 passenger Queen Victoria sailed into her new home port of Southampton. The day before embarking upon her maiden voyage, a 10-day trip around northern Europe, the naming of the new Cunard Cruise ship was celebrated by over 2,000 guests. After passing through airport style security and receiving individual security tags, the first year choir, led by Miss Elunia Dee and accompanied by Mr Martin Hall were able to take part in the celebrations. For an hour and a half, as guests were boarding the ship, the choir, soloists and instrumentalists performed Christmas carols. It was an enjoyable day and some of the pupils caught a glimpse of Prince Charles and Camilla as they arrived for official duties.
Congratulations to Angus Finlayson who has been offered a scholarship to study Music Composition at Trinity Laban Music College next year and to Avril Freemantle who has accepted a place to continue her violin studies at the Royal Northern College of Music.
Associated Board Music Examinations
During the busy run up to Christmas many pupils were preparing for their instrumental exams and we can report that following two days of examining the following exams were passed: 21 Passes, 10 Merits and 5 Distinctions
Carol ServiceThis whole school event provided a fitting end to the term with the combined choirs and orchestra providing the music for the service. Once again the Church was full to capacity and KES adult choir joined forces with the pupil choir to fill the church with a joyful sound. It was wonderful to see so many pupils, parents and staff singing and making music together at this festive time of year. Hot mince pies and mulled wine were enjoyed at the end of the service and the magnificent sum of £1,300 was taken in the retiring collection for charity.
Carol Singing in the Community
Members of the School Choir celebrated the end of the Autumn Term by singing carols on the last day of term.First stop was at Romsey to sing at Durban House Nursing Home, a venue at which we have sung for a number of years.We led the residents and their families in a selection of familiar carols before travelling on to West End, Southampton, to sing another short programme in Oaklands Nursing Home.Our carol singing was much appreciated by staff and residents of both nursing homes. On Friday, December 21st nearly 30 members of the choir sang a final programme of carols for the term, on board the Fred Olsen Lines’ cruise ship Boudicca, moored alongside in Southampton docks.Once again our singing was much appreciated by staff and passengers, and we enjoyed some particularly good sandwiches and cakes before leaving the ship as it set sail for its Christmas cruise to Lisbon and the Canaries.
Violin Master Class and Recital
On January 22nd Philippa Jeffery, of the Halle orchestra, led an exciting morning of master classes for the violinists of KES. Players from Sherborne House and Kings’ School also joined us for the event, which proved to be very popular. Philippa worked with the players and focused on technical and musical points. Her experience, immense subject knowledge and musicality made for an enjoyable and inspiring morning for all. Ben Powell, her accompanist, also conducted a master class on a Gershwin prelude for lower sixth form pianist Tom Sharp. Phillipa also performed an evening recital, which was full of variety from Bach and Brahms to a world premier of a new composition by Tom Davey.
The Primavera Concert Series got off to a cracking start with its first concert Prelude on 6th February. Over one hundred Lower School pupils entertained a full house in the Dobson Theatre with a lively and varied programme. Miss Dee led the Concert Band and First Year Choir in foot tapping numbers, which included Star Wars, numbers from Grease and a sparkling medley of Disney Songs. The Sinfonieta, under the distinguished baton of Dr James, provided colourful performances from Bizet’s Carmen. There were also many accomplished solo performances from Patrick Herklots, Jenny Whitby, Kiah Ashford-Stow, Rose Mapes, Tom Capper, Byung Gong, and Josh Blunsden. The Flute Choir performed three charming South American numbers and Natalie Fairhurst, Reem Katifi, George Tuck, Tom Durham and Alex Ferriman delighted all with confident vocal ensembles.
Over one hundred and fifty pupils took to the stage on Wednesday 12th March in the Scherzo Concert. The symphony orchestra was in fine form with performances of Wagner’s Mastersingers Overture, Debussy’s Ballet from Petite Suite and Overture by Malcolm Arnold. The Senior Choir performed Chilcott’s The Lily and the Rose and a suitably wistful rendition of Moon River. There was an array of sparkling solo items form James Pritchard, Tom Sharp, Avril Freemantle and Vicky Shaw and an enjoyable collection of spring poems beautifully read by Gigi Shaw and Matt Barrett. Sophie Paulson, of the second year, danced a Ballet Waltz and Miss Watson’s ever-popular rhythmic gym dancers completed the evening with a spectacular display to the accompaniment of the Orchestra in the Dam Busters March.
The Primavera Finale
Hot on the heels of the Scherzo concert came the Primavera Finale on Wednesday, 26th March in the Dobson Theatre. The theatretook on the look of a cosy jazz club with candles, comfortable chairs and sofas.The Big Band set the tone for the evening with a number of rousing performances and the vocalists then proceeded to move the audience with their wide ranging tunes, from ‘Cry me a River’ to ‘Hit the road Jack’. The instrumentalists then wowed the audience with some their original works followed by bands including Mind Riot, the Venable brothers, Flamenco Fusion and Broken Recolletion who gave powerful performances. The Folk Sessions, led by Mr Murphy were quite inspirational and the speed at which they played was truly remarkable.The Compositions allowed the sixth form students to demonstrate some of their talent in a quieter moment before the wonderful Big Band and KES Strings finale.
Lunchtime Concerts at St Michael’s Church, Southampton
On 4th and 18th March musicians from the AS and A level Music Classes performed recitals at St Michael’s as part of the church’s lunchtime concert series, which is held each week for members of the public. It was a valuable opportunity for the KES A level pupils to perform their recital programmes to a discerning audience and on both occasions there were many complimentary comments from members of the audience. The performers were: Lucy Smith, violin, Kat Daud, voice, Stephen Thompson, trumpet, Rob Livingstone, voice, Victoria Radjen, oboe, Sung-Hee Kim, piano, Avril Freemantle, violin and Angus Finlayson, violin.
National Youth Orchestra
Upper sixth violinist Avril Freemantle spent an exciting two weeks playing Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and pieces by Ravel and Richard Strauss with the National Youth Orchestra over the Spring holiday. Concerts were performed at the Sage, Gateshead, Symphony Hall Birmingham and London’s Barbican Hall in the presence of the Duke of Kent. It was good to see former NYO and KES musician Sasha Koush Jalali supporting in the audience. Sasha is in his second year of studies at the Royal Academy of Music and has just won a place on the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra young performers course.
National Youth Choirs
Philip Tait (National Youth Training Choir) and Natalie Fairhurst (National Youth Junior Choir) performed in the 25th NYC Anniversary Gala Concert in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall over the spring holidays. This was a wonderful experience for the KES singers who were conducted by Sir David Willcocks, John Rutter and Bob Chilcott.
National Brass Band Championship and National Festival for Music for Youth
Congratulations to Simon De Villiers and Emma Benfield who play in the Hampshire County Youth Band. They won the National Brass Band Championships for the second year running at a fiercely contested competition in Manchester in April. The two players have also progressed through the regional rounds to the National Festival of Music for Youth in Birmingham in the summer. Congratulations also go to Avril Freemantle who has progressed to the National Festival and on to play a Vivaldi concerto in the Schools Prom at the Royal Albert in November
ME Awareness week Music Marathon and Concert
KES musicians turned out in force to support this event in May organised by Hannah Snellgrove of the Upper sixth. It was great to hear a wide variety of inspiring music from staff and pupils being performed from 7am to 7pm in the marathon. Highlights included an awesome guitar duo from Mr Thould and Mr Courtney, a very accomplished piano solo set from Mr Walter and some top quality singing from Mr Ayres. Pupil performances from all year groups ranged from the unaccompanied cello suites of Bach, by Esther Drabkin-Reiter of the upper sixth to a medley of delightful duets by first years Jenny Whitby and Tabitha Piggott. There were also many fine performances from rock bands, singers, instrumentalists and folk musicians.The day was rounded off with a concert, organised by Tom Sharp of the lower sixth, which allowed several advanced musicians to perform to an enthusiastic audience of family and friends.KES musicians raised a grand total of £650 towards the ME week events and were very proud to support the event.
GCSE Music Trip to London
The fourth Year GCSE Music Classes enjoyed an action packed visit to London on 20th May. First stop was lunch at Covent Garden where pupils were able to sample the street theatre and musicians and then over the river to the South Bank centre for a workshop on the Gamelan. The workings of the Indonesian gamelan is a set topic for GCSE Music and it was great for the pupils to have first hand experience of playing this wonderful collection of gongs and metallophones and being tutored by a true master who really challenged and inspired the pupils to perform at a high level. It required immense powers of concentration and sharp aural skills to make the music come alive and the class certainly did themselves proud.
Music Technology – U6 Revision Session and trip to Bath & Lovaton
At the end of the summer half-term holiday, the Upper Sixth Music Technology class had a revision weekend in the school’s facilities at Lovaton.This proved to be a thoroughly productive time, as well as a fantastic way for the class to end their time together.Lovely walks combined with hard study and the students even had a chance to practise their catering skills.We also went to Bath to hear the ‘Wired to Sound’ concert that featured as part of the Bath Music Festival.Electro-acoustic acts entertained and inspired into the small hours – the Theremin will never be the same again!
We were privileged to welcome Dr Drabkin, professor of music and researcher at Southampton University, as the adjudicator for this year’s competition. The winner of the Lower School competition was Byung Gong and Jeremy Ferec Dayson won the Upper School category. Runners up were Oliver Ferec Dayson, Kirsty Asher, Mariella Johnson, Joanna Moody and Zak Venable. It was real feast of music and all who took part were congratulated on accomplished and musical performances.
Lower School Summer Soiree
This event was held in the recital room on 24th June and provided a platform for Music Scholars and Lower School pupils who had achieved Distinctions in their recent Associated Board Music examinations. For some it was their first public solo performance. Refreshments were served following the concert and members of the audience commented on the enjoyable variety of music.
On Thursday 26th June it was the turn of Sinfonietta, Concert Band, Flute Choir, two junior string quartets and a first year vocal group to entertain parents and friends in the Dobson theatre. This informal concert held at the end of the school day provided a fitting end to the year. The sixty-five musicians, mostly from the first and second year, played with great panache and enthusiasm.