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

Stoneygate Carol Service

Well done to everyone in years 3 to 8 for doing so fantastically well in the Carol Service. Everyone worked so hard to learn all the music and performed at such a high standard. I was so proud of the energy, smiles, clarity, shaping, tuning, diction, clicks, orchestras, ensembles, descants … the list goes on and on!

The readings and the school captains’ welcome were also so well delivered and showed an understanding that went beyond the years of the readers.

Special thanks go to the staff of the school, who showed their full support throughout. In particular, Mr Murphy for preparing the readers, Mr Stocks for coordinating the event, Mr Hudson, Mr James, Mr Britcliffe, Miss Hardy and Mrs Thompson for their valued musical contribution to the service, and Mr Ashwin for his piano accompaniment and energy.

A huge thank you to everyone who made it possible and for all the support of the wonderful congregation.

Have a lovely Christmas!

Mrs Ashwin

Hip Hip Horatio!!

On Thursday 19 November, Stoneygate’s Senior Choir travelled to Uppingham School for our annual singing day. Together with Witham Hall’s Choir, we sang the oratorio Hip Hip Horatio. We worked very hard on it all day with Mrs Griffiths, Head of Singing, and had lots of fun along the way.

Our concert included us singing Sailing (I was very pleased with the lovely rich tone and smooth line) and Witham Hall singing an energetic performance of Drunken Sailor. Our Hip Hip Horatio performance went down very well with the audience – which included a lovely number of Stoneygate family – and the concert finished with two pieces performed by Uppingham’s ‘Nine Point Five’ a cappella group. This was a treat for everyone!

The energy and stamina from everyone was impressive. Hip Hip Horatio is a tricky piece: full of unusual text, complex rhythms, high passages and sneaky repeats. Our singers coped extremely well and had a great attitude.

Thank you to all parents for sourcing the stripy tops. Amazingly, no one forgot!! Thank you also to those who were able to come to the concert. The home support always makes a difference.

Senior Choir must now focus on Christmas Carol Service preparation – Thursday 17 December at 2.30pm in St James the Greater Church, Leicester.

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Mrs Ashwin

Oakham Prep Schools Music Day

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Oakham School hosted a wonderful Prep School Music Day on 6 October for singers, woodwind, brass and percussion players. It was meticulously organised and an inspirational day for us all. The theme of the music was space and we heard pieces from Star Wars, Toy Story, Thunderbirds and more. There was super coaching from a huge number of the Oakham School music staff and a great atmosphere amongst all the children. The singers tackled some very tricky music with superb energy and I never heard a complaint that a lot of it was quite high and rhythmically complex. The wind, brass and percussion players performed with a fabulous sense of rhythm and drama.

I was enormously proud of all our pupils in the performance for being part of something so special. It is always good for our children to see that others are also learning singing and musical instruments and that musical development continues at such a high standard into the senior schools.

It was lovely to see so many parents and siblings at the final concert. Thanks also to Miss Hardy, Mrs Thompson and Mr Hudson for supporting both our pupils and others in the rehearsals and concert.

Well done to the following pupils:

  • Year 8: Pippa N, Clemmie P, Freya A, Gracie F, Patrick B, Ellie B, Molly J, Georgina T
  • Year 7: Siddharth B, Spike M
  • Year 6: Liana B, Will Mc, Max W, Declan M, Hattie T, George H, George A
  • Year 5: Ivana P, Tasia D, Millie P, Evie S
  • Mrs Ashwin

Senior Choir Open Rehearsal

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This afternoon saw Senior Choir’s first public event of the new year. We put on an Open Rehearsal for parents and wider family/supporters. It took the form of a regular rehearsal and gave the parents an opportunity to see how we rehearse and reach the standard that they normally only see in concerts and other such performances.

We started, as we always do, with a warm-up, today led by Mr Ashwin. The first section was a fun concentration exercise (an important skill in choral singing) and we then moved onto exercises which focus on tone and range. We finished the warm-up with a Senior Choir favourite, Bella Mama.

Our main focus of this half-term is Hip-Hip Horatio by Michael Hurd. It is a ‘mock oratorio’ and tells the story of Lord Nelson. We will be performing this on Thursday 19th November in Uppingham School Chapel. Senior Choir are working hard on developing delivery of the text (there is a lot of story to put across) and we are improving our communication with the audience. In the four weeks since we began rehearsing, we have learned a huge amount of Hip Hip Horatio. Using the musical notation in the scores has been a big step forward for lots of singers, but they are managing to follow the printed music very well and it has really improved the speed at which we can learn the music.

The Open Rehearsal finished with Sailing, made famous by Rod Stewart in 1975. It was only fair to give the parents a chance to join in, so they sang the final verse with us in 2-part canon. I have to say, the combination of the children and their family members singing together was very beautiful!

Many thanks to all who came and well done to the children for their excellent work tonight.

Mrs Ashwin

Stoneygate Summer Sequence Concert

On June 11th, Stoneygate Senior and Junior Orchestras teamed up with Senior Choir and  soloists for a memorable summer concert.

This musical feast provided lots of variety and began with a dramatic entrance into the hall from the Senior Choir, a.k.a. the Jets from West Side Story. This marked the start of an exciting West Side Story set, including such classics as America and Cool. These group songs, sung from the viewpoint of both rival gangs, the Jets and Sharks (complete with bandanas), were interspersed with a lovely duet from Caitlin M. and Siddharth B. and a moving solo from Charlotte W. To conclude this section, Senior Orchestra played a fantastically energetic I Feel Pretty and Somewhere.

  

Later in the concert, Senior and Junior Orchestras joined forces for an impassioned performance of In the Hall of the Mountain King.

There were other notable solos, including two stunning performances on the violin by Emma D. and Sofia D. Sofia, the only Year 2 pupil in the concert, received a rapturous response for her movement from Pupil’s Concerto Number 2 by Seitz, and Emma mesmerised us all with a movement from Concerto No. 7 by Rode. We thank them for their outstanding contribution to music at Stoneygate.

  

Will J. brought a real sense of drama to his rendition of Cry Me a River, and Lara P. sang the show-stopping God Help the Outcasts with incredible intensity and beauty of tone. Gracie F. and Georgina T. provided the only instrumental duet of the evening, with a fantastic account of The East Neuk of Fife.

    

A tradition has been born, now that it has happened twice: the Year 8 singers come together to offer a musical farewell to Stoneygate. This year, the “A cappella All-stars,” ably led by Mr Ashwin with his “doo-bee-doo” bass line, sang about one of the most important aspects of school life – friendship. Their With a Little Help From My Friends was not only excellently sung, but very touching, and showed a real sense of team-spirit amongst the pupils.

Miss Katerina, the violin teacher at school, moved us all with her account of working with elderly people and children in Nepal (just before the tragic earthquake struck), then played an emotional You’ll Never Walk Alone whilst we were shown photographs from her trip. The donations taken at the end of the concert in aid of the Nepal Earthquake Appeal fetched £292.37.

Senior Choir’s closing set of songs included classical masterpieces such as Ave Maria and the beautiful Look at the World. The choir was in excellent voice and is more than ready for the up-and-coming Belgium tour.

Both choir and orchestras brought the house down at the end of the concert with an unforgettable joint performance of Let it Be.

A huge thank you to everybody involved in helping prepare this concert, especially Mr Hudson and Mrs Thompson. Mr Ashwin was kept busy at the piano with some hugely difficult accompaniments performed with sensitivity and style.

Thank you also to the families and friends of the pupils taking part, whose huge support of music at Stoneygate is incredibly valued.

Mrs Ashwin

A quick addition (Mr Ashwin typing): I’m sure all of you will join me in thanking Mrs Ashwin for her unfailing commitment, musicianship and enthusiasm for music-making at Stoneygate. Without her, where would we be?!

Senior Choir Spring Concert

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The Senior Choir and vocal soloists delivered a lovely concert on Thursday 19th March. This was a concert that started and finished on the theme of singing. We opened with Sing with me by Ken Burton and finished with I’m still singing by Gitika Partington. We had a few items in the concert that were back by popular request: Lin Marsh’s While the tanks roll by and Howard Goodall’s The Lord is my Shepherd. The choir sings these songs with a sense of understanding that comes from having sung them a good number of times and over a few years. We sang the pieces that we learned for the Uppingham singing day. Everytime I feel the spirit was full of energy and Adiemus was beautiful with dynamic contrasts that were achieved very effectively. We had a drumming debut from Mr Ashwin in Pastime with good company by none other than Henry VIII. This was sung acapella and the harmony parts were very well balanced. Azikatale/Sin jen jen je was a lively number with swaying and clapping. I think that the choir is getting better at uniformly going in the right direction!

We had a lovely range of solos from five singers. They sang old favourites such as The Hippopotamus Song (Max W), Chim Chim Cher-ee (Jessica S) and Summertime (Pippa N) and new ones like Alma del core (Charlotte W) and On the Banks of Allen Water (Harriet G).

Senior Choir’s next concert is on Thursday 11th June at 5pm with the Junior and Senior Orchestras. The concert will feature a number of pieces from the musical West Side Story, so if you can encourage any Senior Choir/Senior Orchestra members to listen to some of the songs from this show, that would really help,

Thanks to all who came and watched the concert. It is always great to have your support.

Mrs Ashwin and Mr Ashwin