A small group of pupils from The Grove were invited to the Killer Keys event at Stowe school on Thursday. The day was run by Ben Andrew, the Head of Keyboard studies. The day started with a joint rehearsal with pupils from other schools and some Stowe students. They worked on two pieces that Ben had arranged for piano ensemble. It was an unusual experience hearing 7 pianos being played by 20 pupils at the same time. We were treated to a demonstration of the magnificent pipe organ in the Stowe Chapel by Jonathan Kingston. To get to the organ loft we had to climb the steps going through the instrument, passing some of the nearly 4000 pipes.
After lunch we went to a lunchtime concert in the magnificent state music room. Featuring some of the Stowe musicians playing piano, flute and oboe. Ben then led a masterclass, working through individual pieces with a number of pupils. Emily Garwood played Nocturne in F sharp minor by Fredrik Chopin. This was a truly moving performance in the stunning setting of the State Music room. Gaia Mesonero-Perez played Walt in A by Carl Maria Von Weber. A very confident performance, with great dynamic contrasts. Ben encouraged her to play in a more dance-like manner. This gave the performance a stylistic lift. Damilola Omotosho played Polish Song by Ferdinand Hiller. Ben credited him for preparing the piece well, ready for his forthcoming examination. He worked on projecting the right hand a little more to good effect. The concert for parents included solo performances by some of the students, the ensemble pieces that they worked on during the day, and a very interesting joint improvisation piece that they put together during the day.
A great experience for all involved.
In this May’s concert the tables were turned!
Instead of the musical items sprinkled through with a few Speech and Drama performances the opposite was true. Many of the children had their LAMDA exams this weekend and were able to show off their favourite poems before the day. Twenty Speech & Drama pupils brought their best to the party so to speak, so it will be impossible to mention all of them.
We loved the slobbering, belching alien that Kiaan Fesharaki invited, Eleanor Yeoman’s vulture was a lot of fun and Patrick Kingsman’s Big Fat Budgie was very lazy! Their performances were engaging and full of imagination.
Giovanna Opoku, Siya Patel and Elisa Illingworth won our hearts with their very expressive and dramatic performances. Their poems were ‘Ballet Lesson’, ‘The Falling Star’ and ‘Shadow Collector’ respectively.
The musical offerings were equally enjoyable. Vera Padhiar played her cello confidently for the first time in a concert, Lillian Goodman’s ‘Dinosaur’s Bedtime March’ was so well played that I felt sure there was a sleepy dino in the hall with us and Oyindamola Omotosho played the left hand tune in her piano piece ‘Mysterious Procession’ very clearly.
A big thank you goes to all forty children who took part and performed so well.
Our Senior Choir felt very excited to be going to Stowe even though unusually they hadn’t had much time to learn the music before going. Instead they, together with the other two choirs that took part, were able to work on the notes during the rehearsals and by the end of the day could confidently sing ‘America’ by Bernstein, ‘Rhythm of Life’ by Coleman as part of a workshop/concert and a three classical choral works that were sung in a simple service of Compline in the Stowe Chapel.
The girls had a wonderful day and were complimented often on the beautiful sound they made as they were asked to sing various parts on their own.
Once again we were looked after so well by the wonderful music department who always seem thrilled to see us and treat us to lots of lunch, tea and snacks! Oh and a stunning concert given by three Stowics; a singer song writer in year 9, a tenor soloist in year 12 and a girl in year 13 who sang a song from a musical. They were outstanding!
I felt very proud of our pupils who seemed to easily cope with the intense rehearsal and who remained so well behaved and full of life throughout this glorious spring day of music making.
Our trip to the ISA music festival was superb. Several independent schools, making up a total of around 200 children, gathered in the Union Chapel, Islington, to undertake a rehearsal and concert comprising of Vivaldi’s Gloria and Quoniam Tu Solus Sanctus, followed by nine songs, set to the poems of Enid Blyton. Both adults and children alike felt privileged to be conducted by the composer himself, Scott Stroman, who’s varied and intricate score had been prepared with children as his intended musicians. The vast choir, the participants of which ranged in age from 7 to 13 years old, was accompanied by a live band. The children were well-engaged from the outset, thanks to Scott’s clarity of explanation, copious offerings of funny moments and opportunities for us to make silly noises!
More important than any recount I could give, is the children’s recollection of the day. They have expressed how wonderful the whole experience was, in the form of ‘thank you’ letters, to Scott and his band.
‘Thank you for helping us to practise our Enid Blyton songs… as well as sharing with us the reason for writing all the songs’
Giovanna Opoku, Yew
‘It was really good to finally meet a real conductor and someone who writes songs. It felt like all of us were one big choir!’
Ewaoluwa Adekanmbi, Yew
‘My favourite song was ‘Bonfire Night’. I liked the way that it was non-stop’
Barnaby Davison, Aspen
‘Thank you Scott, for helping us to sing better. We promise we will use those exercises (pinky promise)!’
Oluwadabira Filani, Aspen
‘I loved all the passion that you taught us how to show when we are singing. It was amazing what we could do with our voices. You’ve taken my singing to the next level. You were very inspiring’
Ifeoluwa Adekanmbi, Aspen
‘I loved how you made everybody laugh and the crazy words too!’
Minnah Elakama, Aspen
‘You not only taught us to sing beautifully but you also showed me that it is not just about how high we sing, but also about the quality when we are singing’
Oyin Omotosho, Yew
‘I thought you and your band were fantastic, brilliant and magical. I was confident in myself and believed in myself and my school choir. I liked working with my school friends, we so wanted to make Mrs Berkin proud’
Toby Coles, Yew
‘My favourite song was ‘Frosty Morning’, it really warms your heart! It made me feel peaceful and happy! I am sure Enid Blyton would be very proud if she could hear us singing, don’t you think? Also, I should probably tell you that you are a great conductor and, most importantly, a funny person! You made us enjoy the festival even more!’
Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio, Yew
So, there we have it, a fantastic day enjoyed by all!
Mrs Hodges and Mrs Ramsay
On Thursday 5th October we held our first lunchtime concert of the year. We were treated to a wide range of performance from our students having Music and Speech and Drama Lessons.
The concert started with Alice Alder playing a lovely little piano piece called Hair. Freddie Lancaster followed this with The Bugle Boys, again on the piano. Shaan Sanghera then had us on the edge of our seats with his recital of Stripey Tiger.
Greer McCaffrey’s lovely performance of the Potato Song on the piano was followed by 2 Spanish pieces. Ife Adekanmbi played a Spanish Dance on her guitar and Alexander Chan played Spanish Cabellero on the piano.
A trio of boys (Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio, Daniel Nunez Montanola and Kyle Dissanayake) raised a laugh from the audience with their rendition of ‘Yuck’ followed by a delightful performance of Feed the Birds’ by Barnaby Davison.
Patrick Kinsman picked up the pace of things with The Juggler on the piano, followed by Katie’s Waltz on the violin by Eleanor Yeomans. Iraa Kulkarni then treated us to a stylish Allegretto on the piano.
Ewa Adekanmbi played Song of the mountain on her guitar before Bhavish Rao scared a few of us with his poem about a Tarantula. Kylie Dissanayake was next on the piano with The Farmer followed by Oyin Omotosho with Bluebird.
We were taken back in time by Harini Sivavakeesar with a lovely version of the song Good Morrow. This was followed by Anvi Mulik in her first lunchtime concert, playing Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano.
Next on the piano was Abigail Evans with Airplanes followed by Jacob Okwuadigbo reciting the Sock Song. Thomas Huggins gave a wonderful performance of a Theme and Variations on his guitar before Lilian Goodman scared us all at the piano with Monster!
Daniel Jemeljanenko gave a very expressive recital of the Cat’s Protection League and Sophia Shaikh delivered an eloquent performance of the World’s Worst Children.
Hana Iguchi showed us her skills on the piano with a tricky piece called clowns and the concert was brought to a close by Iraa Kulkarni who gave a very dramatic performance of Where My Wellies Take Me.
A wonderful concert, I an already looking forward to the next one.
The twenty-five children performing in our June lunchtime concert gave us so much to feast our ears and eyes upon. Congratulations to everyone who took part.
The cheeky chaps in Beech and Holly didn’t let us down with their speech and drama renditions, Jacob Okwaudigbo. Matthew Coomber, Dimitri Korontzis, Freddie Lancaster and Arjun Sohal told their funny tales of cats, lost socks, tastes and pancakes. Zayne Quinton joined in with his concert debut piano piece ‘Yankee Doodle’ that he managed to play so quickly that he didn’t even have time to sit on the piano stool!
Maanika Phul confidently played ‘Little John’ a clarinet piece. This was the first time she’d played in a concert. It’s good to see some younger pupils taking up different instruments. We need more to play brass and woodwind instruments so that we can have a Grove School orchestra.
David Ogundeji gave a beautifully rhythmical performance of his piano piece ‘Russian Song’ and Ife Adekanmbi made a lovely sound on her guitar as she played ‘Song of the Mountian’. Elise Reeson played her gentle piano piece ‘Bluebird’ peacefully and Sheyan Kothari’s ‘Elephant’s Waltz was counted very carefully.
It’s been very encouraging to see our young musicians and drama students making so much progress throughout the year. Don’t forget to keep playing over the summer holidays everyone. Your teachers will be so amazed in your first lessons in September when you can play them a beautiful piece. They will think it’s Christmas already!
Our lunchtime concert was packed full of stories this month. The children sharing their Speech and Drama poems and excerpts told us many. Tales of scary snakes, (delivered with intensity by Sophia Shaikh), of herbaceous pods and beaches, (clearly spoken and with great timing by Freddie Lancaster and Dimitri Korontzis), and of Father’s Day cards and beautiful new days, (excellently performed by Autumn Pim and Samara Saanvi). Suspense filled stories like ‘Mrs Mather’ kept us on the edge of our seats, (performed by Maya Shah), and a lovely rendition from ‘Little Women’ read by Emily Ying-Clifton that made some of the older audience members want to read the whole story again.
Stories can be told by music too. We heard the gorgeous tune of a waltz singing out over the top of a beautiful left hand accompaniment played by Emily Garwood and the ringing tones of a twinkling star played by Gabriel Alvarez-Custodio on his guitar. Barnaby Davison’s ‘Cheeky Monkey’ was very playful on his violin and Thomas Huggin’s ‘Saints’ were brilliant at marching in time. Damilola Omotosho showed us some real ‘Attitude’ at the piano and Joseph Imonioro’s clarinet playing ‘Guinea pigs’ were marching almost more in time than the saints.
The cutest story told was Kylie Dissanayake’s, she is so small she needed to climb on to the stool to play us those famous Big Ben chimes. Well done to everyone for another delightful concert, especially to those I haven’t mentioned, you were all so good at your very special storytelling.
We all thoroughly enjoyed this half term’s lunchtime concert. We were treated to some very accomplished performances. The children, without exception, can be proud of their respectful attitude during the concert itself and was also present when they were warming up and tuning up beforehand. Everyone helped their fellow performer to rehearse and those who were new to the whole process were made to feel part of the team.
One or two performances need a special mention here. Joseph Imonioro played ‘Ode to Joy’ on his clarinet. It was great to hear how well he is doing, especially in his first concert and he made no mistakes, squeaks or fluffs and tongued each note brilliantly. Rohit Rajaraman played a superb piece called ’Dwarfs of the Mist’. He played the fast running semiquavers clearly and made them sound menacing. The chordal sections in the piece really evoked a threatening atmosphere and reminded us of The Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg. Anas Mehrez conjured up his own atmosphere as he read us part of the book ‘Boy’ by Roald Dahl. The wonderful expression he used to tell the story made us all want to listen to the rest of the book. But sadly the concert was over far too soon and I suppose we did need to have our lunch!
Well done everyone. Keep up the good work!
On Sunday 15th January LVAC ballet pupils attended a Nutcracker workshop run by ex-professional ballet dancer Bethan Smith. Bethan trained at Elmhurst School of dance before a professional career in ballet including performing with The Slovak National Ballet.
The workshops began with Bethan talking about the ballet The Nutcracker and the story. The children then all took ballet class with Bethan before learning a dance from The Nutcracker. Following the ballet class the parents were invited to come and watch the children perform the dance they had learnt with Bethan.
Bethan then talked about life as a ballet dancer and showed the children and parents photos of theatres, costumes, make up and a pair of pointe shoes.
There were 3 workshops throughout the day with children from 4 years to 11 years taking part and they all had a fabulous time! Well done to all the children for your hard work and concentration.