The Prep School had a rousing start to their week recently when two drummers from Year 9 performed a duet for them. The students, who are both set to do GCSE Music, devised the whole thing themselves, drawing on rhythms they had learnt in drum lessons and material they had experimented with in their jamming sessions at school. They thought carefully about how to make best use of the entire kit, including two snare drums and they included a section which exploits the different timbre (sound) that can be achieved through rim shots. The texture of the piece is varied and the tempo also changes to help create a sense of build up and excitement. They even thought about the visual aspect of their performance by swapping places halfway through whilst still keeping the rhythms going! Unfortunately you won’t be able to see this but you can listen to an audio clip of their impressive piece here:
The Cabaret Evening showcased talent in the performing arts from Year 8 through to Year 11, not forgetting our lovely poetry reading quartet of Year 5 and 6 students who extolled the benefits of music and drama in verse they had written themselves. For Year 10s and 11s it was an opportunity to air examination material – drama students performed their monologues and music students performed some of their solo and ensemble pieces. Year 8 and 9 students auditioned to provide supporting acts and it was really exciting to see the performing potential already developing amongst the younger years.
We can’t show the monologues as they are coursework submissions but, suffice it to say, there were some stunning and tear-jerking performances. Below you can find musical highlights from the evening as well as some rehearsal clips from the day.
Feeling Good, performed by our Year 11 band who have been playing together since the end of Year 8
Composed and performed by Oscar and James in Year 11
God Help the Outcast, sung by Jessica in Year 11
I see Fire, chosen and sung by Fraser in Year 8
Blackbird, played by Oscar (Yr11) and a budding new band in the form of Year 8 boys singing Locked Away
The Power of Love, chosen and sung by Phoebe and Sapphire (Year 9)
Asturias by Albeniz, performed by James in Year 11
Martha and Rose in Year 8 performing a piano duet
Chopin Waltz performed by Toby in Year 11
Senior Choir, A Thousand Years
Our Senior Showcase this term was a double bill of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Roald Dahl’s The Witches, interspersed with music carefully chosen to fit the ‘magical’ theme. All students in Years 7-9 were involved whilst Year 10 students provided much of the musical support. Two Year 10 students also devised the choreography for the dance and rehearsed it with the Year 7 dance team. You can listen to a few musical highlights below – more to follow. In the meantime here are:
‘That’s Life’ sung by our very own Frank Sinatra in Year 7
‘I put a spell on you’, sung by a quartet of girls from Years 7 and 8
‘Another one bites the dust’, performed by our Year 10 Band
It was great to see so much enthusiasm for our Come and Play morning when juniors and lower seniors had the chance to get up close and personal to a range of musical instruments. We were immensely grateful to some of our instrumental teachers who kindly gave up their morning to put our students through their paces on flute, violin, trombone, trumpet and tenor horn. A lot of natural talent was unearthed by their expertise and coaching so we look forward very much to some of this bearing fruit. You can view some pictures from the morning below:
Years 7 and 8 who had signed up were put through their paces at lunchtime today in the dance audition for The Witches. The audition was led by our two Year 10 dancers who choreographed it and taught the younger students their steps. We were impressed by our Year 10s, whose expertise we will definitely be needing to choreograph a dance scene in The Witches, and by how quickly the Year 7 and 8s learned the steps from scratch in a matter of minutes.
You can watch an extract from the audition below:
Seniors were treated to a special assembly this week with a visit from violinist and composer, Joel Grainger. He trained as a classical musician but decided to branch out from the conventional route and broaden his range of styles to include pop, jazz and folk. As well as speaking and performing at TEDx in London he has showcased his live looping set on BBC 1’s ‘The One Show’.
Here’s a photo of his looping set which he used in the assembly:
Joel busks regularly in Cambridge and other major cities – look out for him in on a Saturday. It was truly inspiring, so here are a few highlights to give you a taste of what we experienced:
If you were fortunate enough to be in the audience for James & the Giant Peach you would have enjoyed the fruits of a great deal of hard work on the part of the year 7s, 8s and 9s who were involved. Even Mrs Holman’s husband was roped in to construct the larger than life peach which has graced the school hall for the last couple of weeks.
Here’s a selected gallery of photos to give you a taste of the characters, costumes and set design.
Previewed briefly at the Variety Show last week, the Infant Nativity play, promised to be a real treat for parents and three performances later we can safely say it lived up to all expectations. They looked lovely in their costumes, they sang with enthusiasm, the stars and angels danced beautifully and Joseph’s recurring refrain of ‘oh dear, oh dear’ caused many a chuckle. In short, they all did a brilliant job under the guiding hand of Mrs Byrom, ably supported by the rest of the Infant and Nursery staff. Here are a few highlights:
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. 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 preview 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.
There have been enough studies in recent years that have set out to prove that singing is good for your health, both psychologically and physically, but what difference does it really make? The good news is that you don’t need to have reached professional standard to reap the benefits. Take Sancton Wood Singers as a working example: staff, parents, grandparents, au pairs, rush in, often late, preoccupied with matters of the day but even after a few warm up the smiles are returning and the frowns are relaxing. Those ‘feel good’ endorphins associated with physical exercise are being released, the deeper breathing helps to reduce stress and get more oxygen into the blood which improves circulation. The other really key element is that it is relational, there is a shared sense of purpose and experience. So next time you catch yourself belting out something in the shower or in the safe cocoon of your car, why not look into doing it with a group instead?
Sancton Wood Singers meets on Thursdays at 4pm and a warm welcome is extended to all staff/parents/carers