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.’
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.
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.
Every Y7 attended a very enjoyable annual Halle concert at the Bridgewater Hall, linking to the SOW on orchestral instruments. The theme this year was ‘Music from the British Isles’ and they heard an excellent performance of Britten ‘Young Person’s Guide to the orchestra’.
This was an opportunity to take the entire year group to the Bridgewater Hall , which is one of the best concert halls in the UK, as many of the students have not been there ever before.
All students in Y8 really enjoyed this annual workshop, showcasing Impromptu opera – a fantastic trio of professional opera singers/pianist, who showcase live operatic demonstrations, specifically linked to the Magic Flute opera – a topic Y8s study this term. The workshop is full of humour, audience singing participation and breaks down all potential pre-conceptions about opera not being fun/for all. Many girls enthuse about this topic/workshop as being their favourite topic in Y8 and many are inspired to join one of the choirs/persuade their parents to take them to an opera!
All Y7s participated in a whole year group singing session, where they learned to sing and use sign language a lovely song, provided by the Sign to sing charity. Girls were invited to bring a voluntary donation for the charity and were made aware of the work the charity does to promote musical opportunities with those who can’t fully hear. One of our instrumental practice rooms is incidentally named after the brilliant percussionist, Evelyn Glennie, who is deaf.
‘On Tuesday the 1st of November we had an exciting lesson on how to play the African drums. The lesson was great, we all learnt so many new things whilst, having a great time (we were all pleased that we were missing maths). The teacher was kind of mad, but a fun kind of mad. The drum I was playing was a djembe but there were other drums like the dundun, talking drum, bugarabu and some others.
When we arrived we firstly learnt how to hold the drum, then the different sounds on the drum (hitting the edge or the middle) then finally we played the drums! We did many tunes but my favourite was: ‘give the dog a bone, woof, woof, woof’ or ‘beans on toast, butter the bread.’ When I left the church hell 10.05am I knew way more things about African drumming then when I entered the room at 9:05am.’
This week saw the showcasing of the talents of 160 performers across 10 different classes at AGGS in our 2nd Music Festival. Both the Church Hall and the Main Hall were buzzing with performances throughout the day, with hundreds of girls able to watch as audience members during the day.
Our 2 adjudicators, Mr Tom Dickinson (Wirral Boys’ GS) and Mrs Kathy Rundell (Wilmslow Prep) gave expert verbal and written feedback to the girls and we are hugely grateful to them in giving of their time to support AGGS in this way.
Thanks too go to Miss Riddle, Mrs Dickinson and Ms Mayall who accompanied over 70 performances and to all the instrumental staff who prepared pupils, including some lovely ensemble arrangements. Endangered instruments was a theme of this year’s festival, with a class showcasing oboe, viola and brass players.
This kind of event wouldn’t be possible without the help of so many administrative staff and parent steward helpers. Particular thanks to Mrs Marshall and Miss Wright who took charge of the adjudicator administration during the day and to Mr Beddow and the caretaking staff for setting up the halls.
The results of the classes are as follows:
Chloe B. 9-3
Binyang Z. 7-2
Jennifer M. 7-4
Imogen B. 7-1
Sophia T. 10-3
Emily W. 10-6
Anna T. 11-3
Effi S. 11-6
Kiya G. 8-1
Ellie R. 10-6
Flora W. 11-6
Selin C. 7-3
Faith E. 7-4
Hannah G. 11-6 / Ellie C 11-4
Duo : Ellen W. 11-5 & Antonia H 11-6
Duo: Corrie G. 13-3 & Hannah G. 11-6 / Duo: Katie A. 11-4 & India S. 7-7
Sisi H. 11-3
Mingya G. 11-2
Freya M. 7-6
Eisha N. 9-1
Milly K. 12-3
Madison T. 9-6 / Ruby B. 9-5
Suriya P. 11-2
Imogen A. 7-5
Sophia L. 8-2
Holly M. 10-4 / Flora W. 11-6
Peilin Z. 8-7
Emily H. 7-5
Shraddha A. 9-3 / Kiya G. 8-1
Hannah G. 11-6
Emily P. 9-3
Bethany J. 13-5
Corrie G. 13-3
Ruby J. 13-6
All performers should be proud of their performances and have earned a merit towards their form total, in addition to hopefully enjoying the experience of performing in a music festival and gaining more confidence along the way.
Year 8 classes were attending the opera workshop on Thursday 31st March. As ever, it was a real highlight in the music calendar and really reinforced the opera topic the Y8 girls have recently finished.
Habba, Al and Martyn are all consummate performers and proved again to be brilliant entertainers in true operatic fashion. The improvised recitative section in each of the 3 sessions were inspired – apologies to those Cheshire Wives’ fans P3! Morvyn in 8-5 did a brilliant job of improvising with them too.
‘Impromptu opera’ , as they are known, spend most of their time entertaining at special events – weddings and restaurants etc – we are their only school workshop – thanks to Amanda Wright who knows them personally and asks them to deliver it every year.