Variety Show 2014

The Variety Show saw a wonderful array of music and drama performed by students from across the school. Infants, Juniors and Seniors were all well represented, as were staff and parents too.

Year 2 enchanted the audience with a medley of songs from their Nativity Play and the Junior Choir made their debut with great enthusiasm.yr2 Senior drama included a funny but poignantly realistic portrayal of teenage angst by students from Year 9,  whilst a Year 11  riveted the audience with her GCSE monologue about a young woman’s acute suffering from agoraphobia.

Staff and parents were involved in Minstrels who performed the perennially popular Pink Panther theme tune as well as Sancton Wood Singers who re-lived their youth singing Abba’s ‘Super Trooper’. Some of the instrumental teaching staff formed an impromptu ensemble for the evening and there was even a sneak prevservants1iew of the staff panto, soon to hit the school stage.

The grand finale saw four Year 9 soloists backed by Sancton Wood Singers in a heartfelt rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody (the students chose this piece) with our GCSE musician on lead guitar and the redoubtable Mr Parker on bass.

You can view some highlights from the evening below:

We’re already looking forward to the summer event! In the meantime the next stop is the Infant Nativity, closely  followed by the staff Panto and the end of term carol service.

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Improvisation with Year 9

The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines improvisation as ‘the extemporaneous composition or free performance of a musical passage, usually in a manner conforming to certain stylistic norms but unfettered by the prescriptive features of a specific musical text’. Having unpacked that, Year 9 decided that improvisation could be more succinctly described as ‘composing on the hoof’. They discovered that it can actually be found in music ranging from the Baroque period to the present day, from jazz and rock to African pop. Inspired by one of Keith Richards’ improvised solos with The Rolling Stones, the students went away to devise their own pieces of music involving improvising over a repeating chord pattern. This is a taste of their final performances:

 

Graphic scores – the ups and downs

Year 7 have been weighing  up the pros and cons of graphic scores – scores which give a visual representation of music using symbols, shapes and colour. They concluded that, in their favour,  graphic scores look artistic and are accessible whether or not you can read music notation. On the down side, they lack precision and because they are not standardised it would be hard for a large group of musicians to perform from one. The students went on to work in pairs on a graphic representation of the opening bars from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Here are two examples of their work – both highly personal and individual but equally valid in their visualisation of the music:

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