Winter Music Round Up
The second half of the Autumn Term is always a busy time for the Music Department, as many pupils prepare for instrumental or singing exams at the end of term, whilst others are busy working towards concerts.
On 8th November, we enjoyed a Teatime Concert featuring students from all year groups performing a mixture of solos and small ensemble items, from Einaudi to Elgar. Some of our newest U3 impressed with their confidence and willingness to perform and it was inspiring to hear some of our senior sixth formers showcasing exam pieces.
A few days later, the Chamber Choir and a small string ensemble led the music for our whole school Remembrance Prayers, performing a moving version of ‘Abide with Me’ and ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’. A big thank you to Orla for her poised performance of ‘The Last Post’ on trumpet to mark the two-minute silence. That weekend, the Brass Ensemble, directed by Mr Peneycad, joined the choir of St Andrew’s Church in Headington to support the hymns and music-making for Remembrance Sunday, with Orla once again providing ‘The Last Post’. We are grateful to our brass players for working so hard that week!
Just a few days later we were treated to a fantastic Jazz Cakes concert: this started with a bang by an intrepid band of U3 musicians, ‘The Jammy Seven’, coached by Mr Woodcock and performing the groove-driven ‘Green Onion’s. A series of exciting duets and solos followed, highlighting what a talented group of jazz, pop and musical-theatre students we have at Headington. Bravo to all involved!
On 18th November, the Chamber Choir and some senior orchestral musicians joined forces with students from Abingdon and St Helen and St Katharine’s schools for a massed performance of Haydn’s oratorio, ‘The Creation’ in the Amey Theatre. This was a wonderful opportunity for singers and players to work alongside new musicians and staff, producing an epic audio experience for all involved.
This was followed a week later by the winter concert, which this term had an all-American theme. Over 200 pupils were involved in this event, in which ensembles across the Senior and Prep schools performed an inspiring programme of music to a sold-out audience. Alongside the four choirs and two orchestras, it was delightful to include the harp, guitar, brass, flute, and percussion ensembles, as well as Stringendo, String Orchestra and the Big Band. A huge thanks to all those involved in making this such a memorable and happy occasion.
Towards the end of term, the music scholars had the opportunity to take part in a conducting workshop with the renowned Sarah Tenant-Flowers, a singer and lecturer in choral conducting. Sarah covered not only the basics of conducting, but worked on how to bring out expression, dynamics and articulation with singers and orchestral players. It is hoped we will see some of Headington’s musicians taking the baton in future concerts!
As we reached December, we enjoyed A Celebration of Woodwind & Brass: an evening concert hosted by Miss Roberts (Head of Woodwind & Brass) and her team of peripatetic teachers. We were treated to a whole range of small chamber groups, solos and duets, as well as the saxophone quartet, both flute ensembles and the Big Band. Thank you to all involved for an excellent and seasonal evening. The term ended with a final Lunchtime Concert on 6th December, featuring a large number of pupils keen to perform before upcoming ABRSM exams a few days later.