Events so far this year

Dr Higgins, our Director of Music, reports on St Augustine’s Priory’s musical events since January.

‘The Lent Term was one of extraordinary productivity and output for the Music Department with several projects coming to fruition.

After six months of hard work and practice, the school production, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ finally came to an end, but not before the cast and crew gave three thrilling performances at the Questors Theatre. I had to remind myself on a few occasions that it was a student production; such was the level of professionalism and energy during those performances. Working with the band backstage was great fun too. I played the keyboard, as did Mrs Macallister, assisted by a patch programme on the Department’s new MacBook; Mr Rose played guitar with what was one of the largest amps I have ever seen; Miss Hatch played drums and percussion on the department’s new Sonor kit; and Mari Phillips (Lower V) played bass brilliantly. I would like to add my personal congratulations and thanks to every participant, it was great fun.

Mrs Macallister on synth

The ’Little Shop of Horrors’ band

The Music Department has acquired a Sonor drum kit

On 16th March nearly 120 students gathered to perform in the school’s Spring Concert. The programme was as varied as ever, and included performances of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ (the Junior String Orchestra), Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah (the Senior Choir) and Flautissimo (the Flute Ensemble). Other notable performances included the Wind Ensemble’s rendition of ‘The Great Escape’; this rounded off the first half with laughter from the audience as towards the end of the piece the performers walked off stage one-by-one. The whole concert was topped off by the Senior Orchestra’s performance of music from the hit animation, ‘Frozen’. Augmented by several visiting musicians, the arrangement contained the big hits from the movie, and as I was standing in the north transept I can tell you the Junior and Senior Choir were giving the best air-choir performances of their lives!

At the end of March we welcomed ABRSM examiner Mr Steven Wilkie to the school. Mr Wilkie examined around 20 of our students in various grades and instruments. The students acquitted themselves with their usual resolve and Mr Wilkie commented on how friendly they all were. The results should be known within a couple of weeks.

On 31st March we held our last Music@1 concert of the Lent Term; these have proved to be occasions when performers, whether girls or staff, enjoy the opportunity to showcase their talents for a wider audience.  We look forward to resuming these lunchtime concerts in the Summer Term.

Over Easter, there were two more exciting developments in school. The first was the arrival of our very own organ which has now arrived from Italy. The instrument was installed in the Chapel over two days by Viscount Organs. During the short time in which we had the loan instrument over Christmas, I think we all saw the difference an organ will make to the musical and spiritual life of St Augustine’s Priory.

With a host of music-making opportunities in the Summer Term we look forward to several months of joyous sounds from St Augustine’s Priory!’

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