Summer Sequence Concert preview

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We are now in the final stages of preparations for the Summer Sequence Concert and I, for one, are very much looking forward to it! We will hear our two orchestras, Senior Choir and, for the first time in this concert, Senior Guitar Group. We have a number of wonderfully talented musicians in Year 8 and a number of them will be performing solos and ensembles. We are also very excited to have a former pupil, Andrew Webster, to come and perform for us. It is always inspirational to hear professionals who started their musical journey from the same starting point as our young musicians.

Reply slips and emails are coming back thick and fast, so I look forward to seeing lots of family and friends at this concert.

Mrs Ashwin

Junior Choir and Pre-Prep Choir Concerts

We have recently had two fantastic concerts from the Junior and Pre-Prep Choirs.

The Junior Choir Concert was on Friday 20th May and there was a wonderful turn out from family and friends. They sang a mixed programme and demonstrated ability to sing in unison, in parts, in canon and a capella. It was genuinely a pleasure to conduct and accompany this concert as the children are so giving in their singing. They remembered various details of dynamics and shaping and really worked hard on their diction.

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The Pre-Prep Choir Concert was on Tuesday 24th May and again we had a super audience. The children were very excited about sharing what they had learned. We had a good number of action songs and these always raise a smile! The children have been working on healthy singing technique and  contrasts in moods. The Teddy Bear Rock ‘n’ Roll was a good example of having to sing sounding ‘sad’, ‘tired’ and ‘cross’. This choir are also fun to work with as they are extremely responsive to feedback and always want to do their best.

Well done to both choirs for delightful performances!

Mrs Ashwin

Senior Choir Open Rehearsal/Concert

On Thursday 17th March, Senior Choir invited family members to come and watch an informal concert/open rehearsal. It was a lovely occasion and Senior Choir really rose to the occasion. We began with a warm-up and went into a set of four pieces that were performance-ready: I am the Wind, Swing Low, Half the World Away and The Storm is Passing Over. We then handed over to Pippa N, Gracie F, Antonia V and Freya A for their performance of Just the Way You Are. This was something that they had worked on independently and was inspired by the film Pitch Perfect.

We then went into the open rehearsal section of the event and gave sneak-previews of some of the pieces that we are intending to perform in the Summer Sequence Concert on Thursday 16th June. Senior Choir demonstrated a strong tone in The Writings on the Wall and then a lightness and sweetness of tone in Rutter’s I will sing with the spirit.We finished the open rehearsal with Feel Good. This is an uplifting song that needs real energy. We need to work on the clapping and the strength of the lower harmony parts, but it is going to be great by the time we get to the concert.

Thank you to all the parents for coming along and making it such a lovely occasion.

Mrs Ashwin

Recorder Karate – Black Belts Already!

Year 3 and 4 have embraced Recorder Karate with incredible enthusiasm and are progressing faster than I could have imagined! We already have three pupils from Year 4 who have been awarded their Black Belts in Recorder Karate!

Huge congratulations to Sebastian M, Sebastian A and Bradley M for your super achievement! I am now (happily) having to create special belts in all the other colours of the rainbow to keep pushing our wonderful recorder players.


I am delighted by how motivated all pupils in Year 3 and 4 are with their recorder belts and look forward to every lesson! If any parents have a recorder lurking somewhere, please do dig it out and ask for a performance – Hot Cross Buns, Gently Sleep, Merrily We Roll Along, It’s Raining, Old Macdonald, Oh When The Saints, Twinkle, Twinkle, Amazing Grace and Ode to Joy.

Mrs Ashwin

Choirs at Kettering in a Clean Sweep!

Huge congratulations to all pupils in Year 2, 3 and 4 who sang wonderfully in the Kettering and District Eisteddfod today. We entered four classes: Year 2 Hymn Singing, Year 3 and 4 Hymn Singing, Year 2 Open Choir and Year 3 and 4 Open Choice. We were placed first in every class!

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The adjudicator was incredibly positive about everyone’s singing, but particularly commented on the Stoneygate Choirs’ diction and rhythmic clarity. This is very pleasing, as we have worked so hard on these things, as well as stage presentation, tone colours and singing with positive energy.

It was also a great opportunity to hear other choirs perform and it was nice to hear one of the pieces that we performed last year. Stoneygate pupils had to sit and wait very patiently between classes, but managed this very well.

Thank you to all the parents who travelled to Kettering to support us. It is lovely to have a home crowd and it means a huge amount to the children.

Mr Ashwin and I have really enjoyed preparing the choirs for this concert and results like this are very encouraging for our young singers. I hope it makes them realise how good they really are!

Mrs Ashwin



Keyboard, Drums and Guitar Concert

On Tuesday 1st March, we were treated to a lovely concert from some of our keyboard players, drummers and guitarists. All the performers were very well prepared and clearly enjoyed playing their chosen piece. It was particularly nice to see the Year 3 Keyboard Club playing together and the Senior Guitar Group.

These instrumental concerts that take place throughout the year are very important in our development of musicians. It is a real privilege to watch these boys and girls extend their dexterity and musicianship year upon year and a delight to see how far they have come on since the previous year. It is also wonderful to see the pride that they have in their performance and a few smiles from children to parents showed how much performing in front of family means to them. Thank you to the audience for coming along and supporting everyone. Thank you also to Mr James, Mr Hartland and Mr Hudson for preparing the children and the equipment for the concert.

Mrs Ashwin

Piano, Strings and Guitar Concert


Huge congratulations to all the pupils who played in the Piano, Strings and Guitar Concert on Tuesday 9th February. It was a debut concert for many and they all handled themselves beautifully. It was lovely to see so many pianists in their early stages of learning, through to pianists playing advanced level pieces with a lovely maturity. The orchestral string playing was represented by Beatrice P playing violin and Rosie A playing cello. We also had some super guitar and ukulele playing. The Junior Guitar Group played very well (in their second ever performance) and demonstrated excellent concentration and listening skills.

These concerts can be nerve-wracking for the pupils, but all played with confidence and a sense of pride in what they were presenting. It is also difficult for the pianists to adapt to a new piano, and the piano in the hall can be quite heavy for younger pupils with little hands. However, all made it play with style!

It was lovely to see so many parents in the audience and credit goes to the children for listening so well to their friends.

Our next instrumental concert is on Tuesday 1st March, when it is our chance to hear the keyboard, electric guitar and drum players.

Mrs Ashwin


Taster Sessions in Music

Our Year 3 pupils are enjoying their taster sessions and experiencing four weeks each of keyboards, flute, clarinet and brass instruments. The children are demonstrating a real thirst for learning to play these instruments and picking them up very quickly.

At the end of the taster sessions, we will be talking to the children to find out what they enjoyed the most and talking to the teachers to find out where they felt most comfortable. Our aim is to get as many children as possible into individual music lessons. We had a really positive intake to lessons as a result of last year’s taster sessions and some of these children are already in Junior Orchestra and heading towards grade 1 exams.

We also have teachers for singing, piano, violin, drums, guitar, ukulele and saxophone and lessons can begin at any point in the year (depending on availability). Please contact the music department at any time for further information about individual music lessons:


Mrs Ashwin

Recorder Refresher (for parents!)

Our Year 3 and 4 pupils are having a great time with ‘Recorder Karate’ and it has transpired that quite a few parents would like to help their children with this, but just feel that their own skills in recorder playing and music reading are rather rusty!

There is a solution – Recorder Refresher! This is a morning session for parents of children in Year 2, 3 and 4 run by Mrs Ashwin in Music Room 1 from 9.30 – 11.30 on Monday 15 February (half-term holiday). As many of you will be looking after children at this time, Mr Ashwin will run a parallel session for the children doing fun musical activities – games and songs for children aged 5 – 10.

Details below …

  • Date: Monday 15 February
  • Time: 9.30 – 11.30 (with a refreshment break)
  • Venue: Music Room 1 for parents and the Hall for children
  • Cost: £10 per adult (inclusive of up to 3 children)
  • Aim of session: to learn to play a number of the melodies that we use in classroom with the children. We will cover some basic musical notation in the process.
  • Materials: Recorders will be provided for the session (or you are welcome to bring your own) and there will be materials to take away.

We need to know numbers for planning purposes, so please email: and include the name of parent and name/s of children and their age.

If you are not a parent of a child in Year 2, 3 and 4 and are still looking for an opportunity to refresh your musical skills, email anyway and we can see if we can fit you in!

Mrs Ashwin




Upcoming Arts Festival Music Auditions

The annual Arts Festival is coming up and we will soon be holding auditions for the music finalists. These auditions will be held for Year 3 – 8 in Mrs Ashwin’s music lessons on:

Monday 22 Feb for 3SP and 7MH

Wednesday 24 Feb for 3SR and 6DH

Thursday 3 March for 6MHo and 8FJ

Friday 4 March for 4EM, 4DS, 5PJ and 8DP

There are two categories: solo singing and solo instrumental.

We would like to encourage as many children to audition as possible – those who have individual music lessons and those who do not. Those who don’t have individual lessons could maybe play a recorder karate piece or keyboard piece learned in class or song learned in Junior Choir/Senior Choir.

The final will be held in the Hall on Tuesday 15 March in the morning, with Mr Peter Davis (Director of Music at Oakham School) as adjudicator.

Please encourage all pupils to think about this and prepare a piece/pieces to play. It is a real privilege to hear these auditions and a lovely opportunity for other members of the class to hear their friends play and sing.

Mrs Ashwin