September’s Musical Highlights

Term has begun apace for the Music Department. Starting an academic year for the first time in the Ogston Music School has seen the major ensembles rejuvenated with new Shells and Sixth Form: the two Chapel Choirs back up to 90 singers total, the Symphony Orchestra enjoying a flurry of new strings and wind players, and the Concert Band now totaling over 50 musicians. Smaller ensembles: Big Band, Modern Jazz, chamber music groups, three close harmony groups, and rock and pop groups (particularly a band supporting the school play) have also started very confidently.

Friday at Five: Bash Croft and Kitty Dodd-Noble, Friday 15 September

What a joy it was to have two singer-songwriters, one Fifth Form and one Fourth Form, giving their own material as part of the first Warden’s Recitals. The songs ranged in topic from love at first sight to the hatred of school, with some political messages too! Very good to see such confidence in showing their compositional style, as both pupils played piano and sang.

Senior Musicians Recital, Sunday 17 September

It’s always a pleasure to see the talent on display from our Sixth Form music Scholars and Exhibitioners, in this annual recital of party pieces and major solo works. We encountered a good deal of English song from many: Finzi, Vaughan Williams and Ireland amongst others; we listened to a tense duet from Les Mis, as Javert confront Valjean; we enjoyed Poulenc Flute Sonata and Chopin Variations; and we finished with some wonderful violin virtuoso playing. This is a close group of spirited individuals who hosted an excellent night for parents, staff and friends.

Close Harmony Day with Voces8/Apollo5, Sunday 17 September

We were delighted to send our Senior Close Harmony group to Radley College to join with seven other schools’ best groups, to learn some new arrangements ready for a concert at the end of the day. They were coached by Paul Smith with Voces8 and the very talented Apollo 5 group, which gave our Fifth and Sixth Form singers food for thought as they were challenged by arrangements mixing with the other schools. The final products showed great musicality, with some excellent sense of blend and tuning. Well done to Sassy Hammersley for organising and for the singers for representing Teddies so well.

Worship band at North Wall Chapel, Sunday 24 September

It was great to see members of the school leading the worship as part of the evangelical service in the North Wall on Sunday evening. Jeptha Rowan-Hull on guitar, and singers led by Bash Croft and friends. They did so well to sing choruses which reflected the theme of the film shown, and managed to give sensitive support to the service as a whole.

A Level and IB musicians to Oxford Chamber Music Festival recital, Wednesday 27 September

Thanks to the Oxford Chamber Music Festival for inviting our senior musicians to a wonderful schools’ concert at the Sheldonian this Wednesday. The excellent orchestra played the sublime Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis (Vaughan Williams), whilst there were also very eclectic items showing an extended piece for snare drum and even a piece for theremin! It’s great to have links with the city, and it was lovely to blend our IB and A Level groups together, with other musicians from local schools.

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