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Music Department News

This term, the extra – curricular life of the Music department at St. John’s has really taken off. Several new members have joined the ensembles and there have been performances in assembly, combined with rehearsals for the BSMA festival this month, things have certainly been busy. We welcome our new peripatetic teacher of brass, Mr. Malam who will I’m sure help us to build a strong tradition of brass playing at the school.

The KG Rainbow Recorder group, rehearse every Thursday afternoon. 13 players had their very first performance in assembly last half term playing the appropriately titled, ‘Wet and Windy’ and were very well received by the whole KG and Junior school. Currently they are working on an amusing little piece, ‘Razza Sazza’ which includes vocal sounds of “ahhhh!” and “oohh!” in between real notes. By the end of the rehearsal we are all in fits of giggles.

The Advanced Recorder group who meet on a Monday afternoon are growing in numbers and confidence. We now have 10 members and all are looking forward to their first performance in the upcoming Spring Concert.

The School Orchestra welcomes its newest member, Tara Samuels (U2B) on piano. Helped along by Mr Smailes on trumpet and Miss Greenin on saxophone, the theme tune to the Good the Bad and the Ugly sounds exciting with Thomas Ponsonby’s (U3W) excellent snare drumming.

The KG Minisingers choir, rehearsed and directed by Miss Greenin on a Wednesday lunchtime are working on …………………………………….. There are now ……… members and we look forward to hearing a performance in assembly from them soon.

Three different year groups are represented in the newly formed Junior Boys’ Vocal Group or BVG for short. The boys are exploring all kinds of repertoire from Justin Bieber to the Script and we are all very excited and wait with eager anticipation for their debut performance in the Spring Concert.

The now established, Songbirds choir for Junior girls has been generating much interest since their beginnings in September. 30 members strong, with new girls joining each week, they are a force to be reckoned with! Demonstrating an ability to be versatile, they are mastering Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus and on the

same rehearsal schedule “Mmmbop” by Hanson. I’m not certain which song lyrics are easiest!

The Music department have recently bought 20 ukuleles. Suitable for small fingers, portable and lightweight, these popular instruments seem to be ‘flavour of the month’ at the moment. Our Year 5s will be the first to benefit from learning a course on the basics in class.

Every pupil in year 6 – 9 this half term has undertaken a course in keyboard skills. They have had the opportunity to learn from scratch, developing a new skill or building on those already acquired with repertoire from Pachelbel’s Canon in year 8 to the theme tune from Starwars in year 9.

We currently have some 80 students receiving one – to – one tuition with our expert peripatetic team. A great number of these are for piano, guitar and drums. Whilst this is very encouraging, it would be lovely to see a rise in the uptake of orchestral instruments, such as violin, clarinet, flute or cello and I would encourage any pupil interested, to contact me. The department have a few instruments which can be made available to new pupils but would welcome the opportunity of putting to good use any currently unused instruments lurking at the back of cupboards at home. If you can help in any way please contact me at the school.

K J Ibbotson

Head of Music