A Belter of a Brass Day

On Friday 13th October, Miss Harris and I took eight brass players to Oundle School for their annual Brass Day. The pupils were put in their groups and they rehearsed hard for the morning. We then had a chance for a picnic lunch and an opportunity to see Oundle pupils and staff performing in small brass ensembles. After a photo opportunity, the pupils rehearsed a bit more and then put on a fantastic concert. It really was impressive to see what could be achieved with a just a day of rehearsals. Our pupils were a delight and worked hard all day. I was not in the least surprised by their commitment as they work hard in Orchestra rehearsals week after week. We also have a lot of new brass pupils in the early stages of learning who will be ready for these types of events next year if they keep practising well.

Well done everyone for a great day.

Mrs Ashwin


Ukuleles and Guitars do the Can-Can!


We have a thriving ukulele and guitar scene at Stoneygate and on Thursday 12th October, the Ukulele Group and Guitar Group both performed in assembly. Mr James arranged the Can-Can in two different versions to show the talents of both groups in different ways. Both groups are developing very impressively and demonstrate a huge level of listening, concentration and musicality. Well done to both ensembles, it was a great start to the day! Thanks to Mr James for his energy and drive in getting so many players (a lot of new ukulele players too) performing so enthusiastically!

Mrs Ashwin

Vocal Concert

On Tuesday 10th October, our singing lesson pupils performed in the annual Vocal Concert. This event is always a real treat to attend and this year was no exception. We heard 27 soloists from years 1 – 8 and the finale, Can you feel the love tonight, was beautiful. It is very important that this concert represents singers at all stages in their journey and we had a lot of singers who are only 4 weeks into singing lessons. I really don’t think anyone would have guessed as they all performed with such confidence and poise. Thank you to Mr Ashwin and Mrs Trounson for preparing the singers so well. Congratulations to the following pupils:

  • Year 1: Ellie A
  • Year 3: Rosie A, Taran D, Eva H and Woody S
  • Year 4: Sophia W and Tilly G
  • Year 5: Henry J, Karan J, Darcey S, Olivia C, Shonali B, Ishaan M, Seb J, Daksh G, Amrit G, Omar O, Imara D and Isabelle J
  • Year 6: George T and Bradley M
  • Year 7: Evie S, Tasia D and Joanna W
  • Year 8: Max W, Hattie T and Will Mc

Mrs Ashwin

In Dublin’s Fair City …

On Friday 30th June, 25 members of Senior Choir gathered at dawn and departed for Dublin. We had a quick warm-up at Birmingham Airport with a verse of ‘Cockles and Mussels’ and headed off by plane. As soon as we landed and had located our coach, we went directly to the Francis Street Christian Brothers School. This is a primary school for boys and is located in the city centre. We had a warm welcome with a huge spread of food and and then we sang our concert for them. We were delighted when they replied with songs and dancing for us.


We then found our hostel and then set off for the Science Gallery, which had a great exhibition on sound and music. After a short rest at the hostel or play in the park, we had a short rehearsal in the dining room (to the amusement of some other guests) and then walked to a local restaurant for a very nice dinner. Early bed was in order.


On Saturday, we woke early and enjoyed breakfast and then a rehearsal in the games room. We walked to the jetty where our boat trip was departing and then enjoyed a super cruise down the River Liffey. The guide was excellent and everyone absorbed a huge amount about the history of Dublin.

We then set off on foot to St Patrick’s Cathedral, where we ate lunch and then gave a lunchtime recital. This included solos and duets in addition to some super choral singing. It was a treat to have some home fans in the audience. The cathedral was beautiful and the acoustics were wonderful.


The next stop was The Ark, a cultural centre for children, which was showing a new exhibition called Beautiful Beasts. It gave the children a lovely opportunity to calm down with modelling and drawing activities. We left there to go and sing to the Molly Malone statue. We rather gate-crashed the set of a busking guitarist, but were delighted when he agreed to accompany us in a full rendition of the expected song.

From there we took the children to buy an ice-cream on Temple Bar and then headed back, before venturing out to Milano (Dublin’s Pizza Express) and then returning for Mr Palmer’s games. The bingo featured places we had been to and seen in Dublin and was excellent fun.

On Sunday morning, we squeezed in another rehearsal and then strode up to Croke Park. We were given a fantastic tour and the children were full of insightful questions about the games and their teams. We could have spent longer than the allotted 2 hours there, but we had to leave in order to get to Christ Church Cathedral on time.


Arriving at Christ Church Cathedral, we first practised processing, which is really the bit that we, as a choir, are least familiar with. There is a very particular way of taking corners that meant walking as if you were walking into something and then turning at the last second. Once we had got the measure of this, we were sorted. The musical rehearsal was straightforward, as we had worked hard on the music and everyone had been thoroughly briefed on the order of service.

The service was very beautiful and everyone concentrated hard. Evensong is an intense service for the choir as pieces just roll into each other with no announcements. Mr Ashwin and I were very pleased indeed with everyone’s efforts.

Following this service, we headed back to the hostel (via a gift shop – of course) and had a quick rest before heading off to dinner, back in the same restaurant as Friday. It was a super meal and restored tired legs. Back to the hostel for fun awards (with prizes lovingly crocheted by Mrs Angell) and toilet roll games with Mr Palmer. We made a lot of mess and a lot of noise and had a great time.


On Monday morning, we had to get suitcases packed. This took some time, but we were soon on our way (by tram) to Dublin Zoo. Dublin Zoo was very impressive and I think we all really enjoyed it. The walk back to the tram and then the walk from Abbey Street to The Little Museum of Dublin was long, but the tour at the museum was, again, highly entertaining. It brought together a number of the points that we had picked up from the river cruise and Croke Park and added in more political and historical information. The children listened very quietly as they were worn out!


Back to the airport we went and we negotiated self-check in and security with no dramas, but a few more water bottles in hand luggage than I was expecting! A last rendition of ‘Cockles and Mussels’ at the airport and we were on the plane.

It was great to hand everyone back to their parents in one piece and with suitably tired and content children. We had a super tour and all of us staff enjoyed it. We were very proud of the children’s singing and the way they conducted themselves around Dublin. We were all utterly exhausted on our return, as tours do not give a moment’s rest. However, given that I am already mulling over ideas for the 2019 tour, it must have been worthwhile!

Huge thanks to all parents, children and staff on tour (Mr Ashwin, Mrs Angell and Mr Palmer) and staff back at school for supporting the tour. We love Dublin!

Mrs Ashwin

Summer Music Exam Superstars


We had a huge number of pupils entering ABRSM music exams this summer and I will report on the Trinity guitar exams, ABRSM Music Theory Exams and any other exams that were not entered directly by school when I have all the results in.

There is a huge amount of preparation that goes into having pupils exam-ready, but it really paid off this summer for our pupils. Every pupil has their own journey through music and we are always really proud of all these successes.

Congratulations to:

  • Woody S – Prep Test Singing
  • Eva H – Prep Test Singing
  • George T – Prep Test Singing
  • Rosie A – Prep Test Piano
  • Shonali B – Stoneygate School Grade 1 Singing (she understands!)
  • Alice S – Stoneygate School Grade 1 Piano (she understands!)
  • Louie B – Grade 1 Clarinet
  • Matilda B – Grade 1 Singing
  • Sophia W- Grade 1 Singing
  • Darcey S – Grade 1 Singing
  • Imara D – Grade 1 Singing with merit
  • Karan J – Grade 1 Singing with merit
  • Felix P – Grade 1 cornet with merit
  • Harry L – Grade 1 trumpet with merit
  • Omar O – Grade 1 Singing with distinction
  • Olivia C – Grade 1 Singing with distinction
  • Olivia C – Grade 1 Flute with distinction
  • Rosie A – Grade 1 Singing with distinction
  • Tilly D – Grade 1 cornet with distinction
  • Shonali B – Stoneygate School Grade 2 Flute (she understands!)
  • Isobelle C – Grade 2 Clarinet
  • Jacob M – Grade 2 Singing
  • Seb J – Grade 2 Singing with merit
  • Joanna W – Grade 2 Singing with merit
  • Harris A – Grade 2 cornet with distinction
  • Edward Dar – Grade 2 cornet with distinction
  • Seb A – Grade 3 Singing
  • Tasia D – Grade 3 Singing with merit
  • Bradley M – Grade 3 Singing with merit
  • Will Mc – Stoneygate School Grade 4 Singing (he understands!)
  • Evie Smith – Grade 4 Singing with merit
  • Max W – Grade 4 Singing with distinction
  • Siddharth B – Grade 6 Singing with merit

The reports and certificates will be sent when I have them.

Please note that pupils can start learning to play an instrument or sing at any point in their time at Stoneygate (from Year 3 upwards) and by special arrangement in Pre-Prep. We even have parents in music lessons (although priority for availability will normally be given to pupils). Please contact Mrs Ashwin for more details if you are interested in music lessons for yourself or your child. lashwin@stoneygateschool.co.uk.

Mrs Ashwin


Music Exam Success for Spring


Well done for some lovely music exam results this Spring. We went down to LGS for the first time to take the ABRSM exams and this worked very well. The availability of a warm-up room with a piano was certainly beneficial. The Trinity exams have also moved to a new location, English Martyrs’ School on Anstey Lane, following the closure of Sheehans on London Road.

Huge congratulations to all our pupils for their wonderful results:

  • Isobella N – Prep Test Piano
  • Felix P – Initial Grade Plectrum Guitar with distinction
  • Tilly G – Singing Grade 1 with merit
  • Sebastian A – Recorder Grade 1 with distinction
  • Daisy V – Clarinet Grade 2 with merit
  • George H – Trumpet Grade 3 with merit
  • Hattie T – Piano Grade 6

We have a big day of more ABRSM exams on Saturday 20th May and then more in June. Good luck to all in their preparation.

Mrs Ashwin