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16th December 2022

Music Department Report Autumn 2022

September saw the start of a new academic year which promised a sense of normality with a packed calendar of musical events. However the passing of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth saw Chapel Choir jolt into action learning music at short notice for Memorial Services. Chapel Choir were then off to the City of London to sing at The annual Thanksgiving Service for the Worshipful Company of Educators by invitation of the Master, Caroline Haines, a governor. It super to welcome back parents after such a long absence from the department for our annual Music@KESW Open House with many parents visiting the department and sitting in on individual music lessons and rehearsals. This is an opportunity for parents to meet our team of over twenty specialist teachers and see the day to day working of the department. Over the term we have enjoyed Guitar, Piano and Wind Showcase Concerts which are informal platforms for pupils of all abilities. Just before half term we enjoyed our termly ‘At Home Concert’ with the Music Scholars treating us to an evening of performances of a very standard.

After half term some of our woodwind players took part in a Masterclass with the Ferio Saxophone Quartet. Being coached by members of this international award-winning ensembles was a real opportunity for those taking part and watching to learn a great deal about performance skills. Later in the afternoon the quartet, led by our Head of Woodwind, Huw Wiggin, gave an inspirational and stunning concert for members of Barrow Hills and King Edward’s and the local community in the Selborne Room. It was then the turn of Chapel Choir to lead us in our Remembrance Service. Thomas Clarke played the Last Post and Reveille with aplomb and we will be sorry to see another talented group of Upper Sixth musicians leave us at the end of the year.

The term culminated with a Gala Concert in the Temple Church in London. This was originally intended as a Platinum Jubilee Concert, but it evolved into a celebration of the life of Queen Elizabeth as well as celebrating King Edward’s accreditation to the Royal College of Organists. In partnership with the College, KESW aims to grow as a centre of excellence for choral music and a new generation of young organists and was only the fourth school in the country to be awarded accreditation. Camerata and Chapel Choir were joined by Old Witelians Ben Charles and Jozef Gazka, currently at the Royal Academy of Music who performed solos alongside current Music Scholars, Cai Thomas, Phoebe Wilson, Freddie Marren, James Parker, Andrew Snelling and Zoe Rinaldi. The evening was a celebration of British music. It culminated with Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem which was intended to recognise and celebrate Bridewell’s founding mission and its historic ties to the City of London. Chapel Choir and soloists were joined by a chamber orchestra of professional musicians. It was super to see Freddie Davies, another Old Witelian, sing and play in the orchestra.

The final week of term saw a flurry of activity with practical music exams, theory exams and carols. We had our first Community Carols at KESW in the foyer of the new reception with members of our brass ensemble led by our Head of Brass, Tamsin Cowell and Camerata lead us in singing carols. It was super to see members of the Bridewell family and the local community join us. We hope that this will become an annual event as we open our doors to members of the public.

In the rehearsal for the Carol Services in Chapel on Tuesday afternoon, the Readers, Chapel Choir and despite a wave of winter bugs. Unfortunately that wave continued to grow and we had to bow to the inevitable and to stop the Carol Services taking place this term. However a plan is afoot to have the Carol Services next term. If churches in Italy can keep cribs and nativity scenes until the 2nd February, why can’t we hold a Carol Service at KESW in the New Year? Please look out for the postponed date once it is confirmed and published!

Mr Sliwka

Director of Music

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