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Musical round-up of the Spring term at Bryanston Knighton House

We began term with the exciting appointment of new Choristers (Elinor, Daisy T, Camilla and Celia), following the long tradition here at Knighton of choral excellence.

Florence C (piano) and Evie H (violin) are to be congratulated on being awarded Merit (over 80%) for their Grade One ABRSM exams this term. 

They lead whole school singing and the senior choir and also work as a quartet. Former choristers have gone on to study music at Oxford (Checkie), sing professionally in The Sixteen (Emily) and of course sing solos for their senior schools (Nancy and Anna for Clayesmore and Bryanston this term).

The end of January was cheered by Burns Night celebrations: a good excuse for the Juniors to learn three feisty Burns songs and the Senior Choir to move us with three beautiful and lyrical Burns songs. The boarders learnt a reel, most of us tasted haggis and everyone enjoyed dressing with a touch of tartan.

Our Saturday PEPs continued with Mrs Maddick (Bryanston’s Head of Percussion) who has studied at Samba School in Rio de Janiero. She brought her set of Samba Band instruments and we raised the roof on three mornings. Now we know why the music school is in a separate building…!

The entire school was involved with our whole school Surround Sound concert straight after half- term. We were delighted with ensemble performances from both choirs, the string quintet and a debut single from Rock Band, as well as 17 fabulous soloists on voice, drum kit, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano. The stage managers and front of house pupils were professional in ensuring the smooth running of the performances.

Weekly performances continued on Friday mornings, at last with a live audience of parents. Weekly rehearsals of Rock Band, Junior Choir, String Ensemble and Senior Choir have been squeezed into breaks or early or late. Individual pupils have almost managed five hours of lesson time this term with our excellent visiting team of specialists: Mrs Leese, Mr Baker, Mrs Cooper, Mrs Dales-Bull, Mrs Huntriss and Mrs Fraser.

All string players went to Bryanston for a masterclass in early March, which catered superbly for beginners up to professional players. Wilf, Evie, Erica and Isabel have been selected for a recording session in May. But this day was thrilling in that we had 75 string players all together making a wonderful sound.

Congratulations to Evie and Florrie for being awarded Merit (over 80%) in their Grade One. ABRSM exams are an international standard of performance, sight-reading, aural and scales delivered in 93 countries around the world.

The Senior Choir delivered a staple of the cathedral repertoire with aplomb in our Lent Service: John Ireland’s “Ex Ore Innocentium”, from memory in two secure parts. The Juniors sang “Mary’s Song” with vigour and passion and of course The Orchard prompted a round of applause for singing and signing “I have seen the golden sunshine”. The whole school sang three hymns and the Irish Blessing with a full, rich and immensely tuneful sound, sending us on our way with a warm sense of community.