The Music Department gets busy!

9th December 2015

What a ferociously busy time it’s been for the Music Department here at BG. Take a look below for a round-up of the latest musical activity.


Visit from Jason Goopy, Head of the Arts at Ambrose Treacy College, Brisbane


From 26 to 27 November, we were happy to host Jason Goopy, Head of the Arts at Ambrose Treacy College in Brisbane. Mr Goopy is an experienced music teacher, trained in the Australian version of the Kodály Method, which aims to build musicianship sequentially. He observed a number of lessons and activities, prompting interesting discussions about Music Education and his doctoral research. On his UK tour, Mr Goopy has visited many leading schools apart from Bilton Grange, including Wells Cathedral School, St Paul’s Cathedral School, London Oratory School, Westminster Abbey Choir School, Tiffin Boys’ School and Birkdale School. He has also visited Sheffield University and the Royal Northern College of Music, before heading to Hungary to see more Kodály teaching in action.


Christingle Service


The annual Christingle Service took place on Sunday 6 December at 5pm in the Chapel. A wonderful atmosphere was created by the passionate singing, the thought-provoking homily (delivered by Mr Noble) and the sturdily-constructed Christingles. Thank you especially to the Junior Chapel Choir, who sang Mervyn Cousins’ Ave Maria with such grace, and to all the Juniors for preparing such an excellent service.



Ensemble performances


The closing weeks of the Michaelmas term have seen a number of ensembles performing at assemblies.


The Upper School BGlee Club performed Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray on three occasions: in the Chapel for Upper School Assembly on Friday 20 November, at the Headmaster’s Assembly on Monday 23 November, and then most successfully at the Pre-Prep Assembly on Friday 27 November. The girls gave more and more energy to their performance with each outing, and drew long applause from appreciative audiences.


The BiG Band got toes tapping with Watermelon Man by Herbie Hancock at the Headmaster’s Assembly on Monday 30 November. Preparations for The Muppet Show Theme Tune are well underway, and band members are looking forward to showcasing their work to parents next term!


Finally, the Prep String Orchestra, larger than we’ve seen it before, performed A Courtly Dance, written by the conductor, Miss Ruth Sellar, on Monday 7 December. One piece was not enough, and so as pupils left the Ravenscroft, the Orchestra struck up We Wish You a Merry Christmas to fit the festive mood.


Congratulations to all of the performers; thank you for entertaining the School so willingly and skilfully.



Choral Workshop with Uppingham’s Director of Music


We were most fortunate to receive Stephen Williams, Director of Music at Uppingham School, and Catherine Griffiths, Head of Singing at Uppingham School, to deliver a workshop to the Senior Chapel Choir on Thursday 3 December.


After an early lunch, choristers gathered in the Band Room and nervously found a space to stand. The warm-ups devised by the energetic duo from Uppingham quickly relaxed the choir. The most memorable were those that got our singers moving, including the Frog Song; this has since been demanded in all Music lessons and choir rehearsals! The work done on our Carol Service repertoire was most beneficial, and pupils have come away with excellent ideas to improve vocal production further.


Mr Williams and Mrs Griffiths were most complimentary about the receptiveness of our choristers, who were willing to step out of their comfort zones and find new vocal experiences. We are all grateful to Uppingham for sharing expertise so readily.

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