On Wednesday 28th March, a group of AGGS Student musicians went to to Ashland’s care home in Sale, to perform ‘Choral Reef’ to the home’s residents. There were some lovely singing, violin and ukelele performances. Well done Tayiba S and her team, it was heartwarming to see smiling residents and hear them singing along!
Our spring concert on Wed 14th March involved over 180 students, performing in 14 different ensembles, choirs, bands, orchestras, of which many are directed by the students themselves. It was a very joyous evening.
John Stephens, BFET’s CEO has said: ‘The concert was an excellent demonstration of the arts at their best with a high level of participation, a diverse range of music and the opportunity for students to shine, whether they were beginners or accomplished musicians.’
Wednesday 14th March 2018 7pm, Main Hall
Tickets £8 adults, £5 concessions from Reception
(2 per family until Fri 9th) then either from Reception or on the door
Refreshments available from PTA
On the Programme:
This year’s Christmas concerts showcased a record number of students – over 260 in total – as usual performing a wide variety of music from Howard Blake’s ‘The Snowman’, performed by Junior Choir and String Orchestra to the Jazz Band’s cover of ‘Feeling Good’, starring Y12 singer Effi-Nicki S.
All 16 ensembles/choirs/orchestras/bands were featured across 2 evenings, to packed halls and there was a lovely festive atmosphere, complete with Christmas tree and tinselled instruments – the most ingenious being Faith Edwards’ french horn, literally lit up with fairy lights!
Thanks as usual go to all performers, who dedicate so much of their free time to practising and attending rehearsals, to all staff and Sixth-Form student ensemble leaders who direct them. Also to the Art Department for some fantastic art work on the programmes, Mrs Brennan in Reprographics, the caretaking staff and PTA for providing refreshments. We also could not put on such evenings without the generous support of staff who supervise students during the concert.
Thankyou to all!
The project began life on A level results day when I was asked if we were interested in providing a choir for an episode of an upcoming Netflix series ‘Safe’ – and could I find some suitable haunting music for a short assembly scene, ideally not in copyright!
After much consultation with other musical/choir friends, Red film company unanimously liked the beautiful English madrigal we chose – ‘Weep o mine eyes’ by Bennet. Written in 1599, during a wonderful compositional period of English madrigal/part-songs, this SATB piece was perfect for the remit: poignant, not too long, and for the mixed voices of the film choir scene.
We approached AGSB for tenor/bass voices and were delighted when they found 7 students who would like to sing with the 15 AGGS Chamber choir soprano/altos.
After just one rehearsal – augmented by just a few adult teacher singers, the film production team recorded the track professionally at school.
The project culminated in a long film shoot Sunday, beginning with breakfast at 7.30am, ending with the last shot taken at 5pm! The school was unrecognisable, with the Main Hall now the assembly space of the fictitious ‘St Winifred’s School’, complete with new school uniforms for all the choir, a false wall in place in the hall and a different school crest etc etc…
The complete cast of around 80 were present, including some famous names – watch the series to see who!
After a total of 15 takes of the recording, where we sang over our pre-recorded track, different actors were featured/different angles of the choir were taken, and all students were a credit to themselves in their professionalism during what was a fairly arduous process. Despite this, however, no one grew tired of the madrigal: the hallmark, possibly of great music! Indeed, several film crew and cast commented how much they loved the music…
I was privileged to have coached the 7 actors who formed part of the choir, to mime convincingly as they sang with the choir – who also did brilliantly and very much looked the part.
This has been a wonderful joint venture for all students and staff involved, not least to sing Renaissance polyphony together, but to sing 4 part harmony, and to collaborate across both schools.
We feature in the opening scene of episode 4, but our choir madrigal recording will be used as a theme throughout….!
This week we were treated to a lunchtime concert entitled ‘Summertime’ given by some talented staff from AGGS. This is a first for the school and came about as a result of Ms Mayall discovering that Mrs Butt (Trips co-ordinator) is an RNCM vocal music graduate in pop/jazz.
Thanks go to all 7 performers who gave up their time to rehearse for this event: Mrs Dickinson (voice), Mr Hodgson (banjo/voice), Mrs Hulme (voice), Mrs Stokes (cello), Mrs Butt(voice) and Ms Mayall (piano). Repertoire ranged from a piano Rachmaninov prelude to main song from Whistle down the Wind. Mrs Stokes also played Summertime on her cello, in keeping with the theme.
Thanks also to Miss Bown for assisting us with sound and photos and to Mrs Brennan and Mrs Butt for co-ordinating the flyer/programme.
80 girls performed in this annual Summer concert – a smaller event as many of the older girls are not in school, but nevertheless full of variety and quality of performances.
The programme included some very promising Y7 soloists, 3 Y10 GCSE soloists, Saxophone Ensemble, Jazz Band, Junior Choir and String Orchestra. Also Recorder Ensemble and Junior Strings – both led by students.
Many Y11 and Y13 students returned from their study leave to perform in String Orchestra and Recorder Ensemble. The former’s programme of very high calibre, with Anna T (Y11 and studying singing at the Junior RNCM) performing a Handel aria, accompanied by the String Orchestra, and a piece composed by a former parent, Adrienne Spilsbury (mother of Cerys and Ffion).
Junior Choir performed a 10 min fun cantata : Rooster Rag, describing the entertaining journey of a hen, rooster and cunning fox, using solos/choruses and some entertaining images on the screen. Thanks go to the Art Dpt for excellent masks and also the caretaking team, reprographics, staff helpers and PTA/World Challenge team for all of their support, without whom we could not put these kind of events on.
Maddie H, a Year 10 GCSE musician, performed at the Closing Ceremony of this year’s combined BFET Sports Day. She sang and played the guitar in front of a large crowd, which was a fantastic way of closing the day, and a great experience for her.
Well done, Maddie.