Category Archives: Events

Year 8 Opera Day

Written by Sara K, 8-3

Understanding Opera

The Magic Flute

On Friday 23rd February, Year 8 had the opportunity to experience live opera.

Two real opera singers from Impromptu Opera came into our school, accompanied by a professional pianist; the man, Al, was a baritone singer meaning he had a male, mid-vocal range and the lady, Habba, was a soprano singer meaning she had a high vocal range.

Read the whole essay here:

Y8 Opera workshop By Sara, March-2018

Spring Concert 2018

Spring Concert, Wednesday 14th March 2018

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:

Harry Potter’s theme – 1st orchestra
Vivaldi’s Spring – 2nd orchestra
Tundra – Gjeilo – Chamber Choir
Jazz selection

AGGS Christmas Concert 2017

Christmas Concert 2017
Christmas Concert 2017

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!

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Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming ‘Safe’ Netflix series

Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix series

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!

Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix seriesAfter 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.

Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix seriesThe 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….!

Ms Mayall

Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix series Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix series Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix series Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix series Joint Netflix choir project for upcoming 'Safe' Netflix series

Summer Serenade July 2017

Summer Serenade, July 2017
Summer Serenade, July 2017

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.

BFET Sports Day – Closing Ceremony

Maddie, Playing Guitar, at BFET Sports Day, June 2017
Maddie, Playing Guitar, at BFET Sports Day, June 2017

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.

Music at the AGGS Summer Fair

Summer Fair, June 2017
Summer Fair, June 2017

Students from Y7-13 performed informally this year at the Summer Fair both in the hall and outside in the Centenary Garden. They provided us with around 2 hours of music, including the recorder ensemble, and students playing piano/singing. This was a new initiative and it provided a lovely atmosphere at the fair.

Y6 Music Induction Evening

BassoonFor the second year running, this evening event was held in AGGS Main Hall. Approx 160 new Y7 parents/students attended and listened to an introductory talk, given by Ms Mayall, explaining the value of learning to play an instrument, the value of learning an ‘endangered’ instrument in particular, and also the music provision provided at school in terms of curriculum music lessons, extra-curricular music clubs (orchestras/bands/ensembles/choirs), in addition to optional instrumental lessons.

This year, 8 current Y7 students performed a short piece, showcasing the progress they had made on their instrument since September – all of these students demonstrated on ‘endangered’ instruments (brass, oboe, bassoon, drum kit, double bass) and their performances were really appreciated by the audience. New Y7s then had the opportunity to try out some of these instruments and apply for lessons. This new initiative is proving really popular and is also proving successful in building up the numbers of students opting for these more unusual instruments, which then feed our orchestras/ensembles etc and give them a life skill that will be highly sought after!

Feedback from parents was extremely positive. This initiative is part of our PTI Associate Department project, of which we have just completed our first year.

Spring Concert, 15 March 2017

Spring Concert 2017
Spring Concert 2017

Congratulations  to all 170 students from Y7 through to Y13 who performed in our Spring Concert – the standard and variety of performances was really impressive.

Particular thanks are due to our Sixth-Formers who lead so many: Flute ensemble, Wind Band, Recorder ensemble, Junior Strings and Guitar ensemble. First and second orchestras, Junior and Senior Choirs, Saxophone ensemble and very many soloists also performed and we are all very proud of you.

Thanks also to our dedicated music staff, helpers and associate staff who do so much to support the concert, including the PTA/World Challenge team providing refreshments.

A DVD of this evening is available to order – please contact Reception should you wish to do so.