AGGS Spring Concert

On the evening of the 11th March, over 200 students performed to a large audience in the Main Hall. It was wonderful to see a range of talents from Y7-Y13. A variety of groups played, from student-led ensembles to full sized orchestras & 3 choirs. Some instruments included the double bass, the bassoon and the French Horn which aren’t played by many people. As well as this, there were different types of music played such as sad, jazz, modern & classical. The audience particularly enjoyed participating by clapping along to the beat! They were also delighted to hear some well-known songs such as the classic ‘Pink Panther’, ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King, and ‘Something inside so strong’. Everyone thought it was fantastic to see how hard the ensembles and groups had worked and how they had grown in number due to its increasing popularity. We would all like to thank Ms Mayall for organising the concert and the teachers who performed and those who helped out. Also a huge thank you to the PTA for serving drinks and delicious snacks during the interval! As well as this, we would like thank the Y10s who contributed their wonderful artwork towards the programme.

By Preet G & Gloria C Year 7

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon, BBC 1 Boxing Day 3.20pm

If you would like to be entranced by a beautiful new animated version of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s story Mimi and the Mountain Dragon’, please tune in to BBC 1 on Boxing Day at 3.20pm.

Esther G in 8-1 has been sworn to secrecy about this project up until a few weeks ago. She was chosen to record the singing voice of Mimi as part of her role singing in the Halle Childrens’ Choir.

Her sister, Grace G in Y9 and also Olivia H in Y8 are also singing in the other recorded sections as part of the Halle choir.

The animation was aired on Tuesday on R3 on In tune, to promote the Boxing Day showing: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000cclk

Rachel Portman, who wrote the music, is interviewed. If you scroll down and listen from 23 – 26 mins, she talks about Esther and the clip of her singing is included. It really is an amazing accolade to be chosen to sing for something this high profile and Esther is very humble about this and a stalwart member of AGGS Junior and Chamber choirs here.

We are very proud of them well done!

Women of Troy at Victoria Baths

It is known that the first appearances of Theatre in history occurs in Ancient Greece through the Greek Chorus, where actors would use nothing but their own skills to teach their audiences about the gods at festivals and other performances. Year 10 have been reflecting this recently in their scripted work in which they, in groups, devised work using extracts from `The Women of Troy` by Euripides.

The tragedy details the events unravelling in Troy after the end of the Trojan War when all the men had been slaughtered by the Greek soldiers. Following the stories of the women left behind as they wait for news of their fate, the play introduces the audiences to the lives of three women in particular: Hecuba, Queen of Troy; Cassandra, Hecuba’s daughter who has the gift of the prophecy but has been driven mad by it; and Andromache, Hecuba’s daughter in law who’s husband and son are murdered.

The students’ work was inspired by practitioner Stephen Berkoff who was greatly influenced by the conventions of the Greek chorus, using synchronised movement and choral speaking techniques to create unusual, grotesque images for the audience, forcing them to see the dark sides of reality – rather fitting for the subject of their scripts.

In contrast to their normal performances however, this year, Year 10 were invited to perform their pieces at Victoria Baths, as part of their `Weekend of Words`. They arrived in costume on Sunday 9th June, accompanied by a selection of ropes, frames and boxes needed for their props, and immediately got to rehearsing for the first time in their performance space for the day: the Turkish Restroom. They started performing at noon, going in series through the various groups, acting in front of the Baths’ marvellous stained-glass windows as visitors wandered in and out as they toured the events, often staying to watch. After performing each piece once, the students and teachers split off with their families to go and see the rest of the events.

Year 10 also performed their extracts at 7 in an evening performance at the school to families. Along with their previous scripts, they collaborated, all of them in one single piece – the play was adapted by Don Taylor and he wrote a post-script in response to it in which he expressed his feelings of how all that happened in Troy was not a single occurrence but something that has been and will be repeated again and again in any time, any place. In one line, at the very end, he says “knowing their next reunion is pencilled, only who will destroy is still uncertain, and what particular Troy”. The evening was overall a massive success – well done and congratulations to all performers and a special thanks to Mrs Ryan and Mrs Marler for their help and support.

Year 8 Dance Interform

On Monday 8th July, Year 8’s excitedly filed into the main hall and took our seats, ready to enjoy dance interform. We had spent the last few weeks working together in our forms – aided greatly by the dance teachers – to plan, choreograph, film, edit and produce a dance video based on the theme ‘Movies’. Now it was time to watch the final piece and see how the others forms had done.

8-1 was shown first with a fun and upbeat routine to Pitch Perfect. Then was 8-2 with a magical dance to Aladdin which was really enhanced by some wonderful edits. 8-3 came next with a routine set to Mulan, incorporating lots of different dance styles and showing everyone’s talents. An exceptional routine to James Bond: Skyfall by 8-4 followed. The dance was incredible and emotion shone through with the use of coloured lighting in the drama studio. 8-5’s energetic dance to Mama Mia has everyone clapping and singing along to their moves. Lastly, 8-6 showed their amazing routine to The Greatest Showman with groups and individuals showing off their many talents in a well edited video. Once we had watched all the entries, the judges took the time to decide upon a winner. In 3rd place was 8-5 with Mama Mia, 2nd went to 8-4 with their Skyfall routine and the Year Eight dance interform champions 2019 are 8-6 with the Greatest Showman!

It was a lovely afternoon celebrating people’s talents which the whole of year eight thoroughly enjoyed. Special thanks go to Miss Ansty, Mrs Collinson and Miss Godding for helping to put together the dances and to Mrs Walker and Mrs Cleary for judging the entries.

Written by Erin M

AGGS String Orchestra success

AGGS String Orchestra have won a place at the finals of the prestigious National competition of Music for Youth. This comes as no surprise, given the standard of the playing of this orchestra, and the talent and vision of Janet Janes, who directs them. The students regularly rehearse on a Friday after school – another indication of their dedication.

Their programme of Elgar songs (Anna Townsend) and specially arranged Kodaly pieces was exhilarating to listen to and watch at the Rochdale regional competition.

String Orchestra have won through at least twice before to the finals. The date of the final is Thu 4th July, in Birmingham Town Hall.

Well done to all of them!

Y13 Drama performing Stolen Secrets in the style of Steven Berkoff

All three pieces were taken from ‘Stolen Secrets’ by Fin Kennedy and are about the dark and sinister secrets we keep underneath our day to day lives. These were inspired by an experiment, in which a locked box was placed in a school, and into which pupils and teachers placed their darkest secrets. They combined elements of both humour and horror, performed in the style of Steven Berkoff, a theatre practitioner who experiments with pace and expression. They were absolutely fantastic!

I really enjoyed watching the pieces. They were so different to what I expected, and I found it fascinating how they managed to make it both funny and scary at the same time. I thought they were all brilliant!

Spring Concert 2019

Tuesday 12th March marked the music department’s Spring Concert. Loads of students of all ages and abilities came together to perform a variety of different styles of music, from jazz, to classical, to popular music. There really was something there for everyone.

Particular highlights of the evening (although there are so many to choose from) included Flute Group’s creative use of percussion to mimic the sounds of a typewriter in their piece, ‘The Typewriter’, and First Orchestra’s rendition of various pieces of music from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ film series.

Here’s what Ms Mayall had to say…

“This term’s Spring Concert was very special. In addition to the 170 students from Y7- Y13 performing to their usual high standard, in the many choirs, orchestras, bands and ensembles, the Y13 students, led by Amy Howarth, sang a surprise last item: ‘Thank you for the Music’, including a number of wonderful solos, and accompanied by Sisi Huang. Amy organised this with her usual enthusiasm and it was a very fitting end to what was many of the Y13’s last ever concerts at AGGS. We will miss you as a year group – so musical and always so generous with the younger students, with very many of you leading ensembles and arranging music, giving up your time. Bravo!”

A wonderful time was had by all, especially the Year 13s. We have absolutely loved our time in the music department, not just participating in the concerts and having the opportunity to perform, but also simply having fun in our spare time. We’ll all really miss this, but we can’t think of a better concert to have gone out on. Thank you to you all!

By Amy, Year 13

The Magic Flute Opera Trip

Recently, Year 8 went to the Lowry to watch the opera of The Magic Flute. This was a very exciting experience and Year 8 were lucky to have it as this was the first time the opera was put on in Manchester.

This ties in with their topic right now as well as Year 8 are studying the feature of an opera and, more specifically, The Magic Flute! The opera is based on two musical instruments which keep Prince Tamino and his bird-catching aid Papageno safe. They battle through Sarastro’s trials and the Queen of the Night’s evil schemes to get to true love and friendship.

The performance at the theater showed them a different interpretation of the opera’s unique story and was extremely humorous. Year 8 thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

By Lakshayaa, 8-3