As well as having large numbers of students taking Music for both GCSE and A level, the department runs a very extensive programme of extra-curricular music activities. Some ensembles are auditioned, and others are open-access, as the department believes in the importance of involving as many students as possible, as well as in ensuring that even the very best musicians have opportunities to participate in school activities which continue to stretch and challenge them as musicians. At the end of each term there is a large concert which features all school ensembles. Soloists, chamber groups and bands have further opportunities to perform as part of our weekly recital series in the auditorium within the new George Young Building.
Our Choir maintains a steady membership of around 80 students each year, performing a wide range of repertoire including large scale choral works such as Faure’s Requiem and arrangements of popular songs (we recently performed a medley of songs from James Bond movies). The Choir regularly performs outside school – in October 2013 we performed Rutter’s Requiem and Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’ alongside the English Arts Chorale at St Botolph’s Church, and this summer the Choir will be travelling to Chartres to give a concert in the cathedral.
Our Chamber Choir is an auditioned ensemble consisting of approximately 24 singers. They tend to favour unaccompanied repertoire in a range of styles, having recently performed two of Poulenc’s Christmas Motets and Guy Turner’s arrangement of Arlen’s ‘Over The Rainbow’.
There are also several Barbershop ensembles which perform both traditional repertoire and mash-ups of current pop songs. Their performances are a particular highlight of the end-of-term concerts.
Our Senior Orchestra is of a very good standard, tackling repertoire such as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and John Williams’ ‘March from Superman’ with considerable success. We have smaller Intermediate and Junior Bands which help students develop the confidence and ensembles skills necessary for playing instrumental music to a good level.
Chamber Orchestra is a group of auditioned string players, occasionally supplemented by wind players depending on the repertoire being performed. They are of a very good standard, performing music such as Bartok’s ‘Romanian Folk Dances’ and Massenet’s ‘Meditation’.
Big Band plays jazz standards to a good level, and there is usually considerable overlap in membership between this group and Senior Orchestra.
There are a number of other instrumental ensembles catering for particular instruments and/or styles, which include: Sax Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, Wind Quintet, Rock School, Jazz Ensemble (exploring improvisation), Intermediate Band, Junior Band and Percussion Ensemble.
Each year the department puts on a major musical, which in recent years has been a real highlight of the school calendar. Last year’s production of ‘Les Miserables’ was particularly memorable, with outstanding performances from the lead actors and excellent support from a huge supporting cast and a band made up entirely of student musicians.
A Level Recital Evening
We are having our annual A Level Recital evening on Thursday 4th February from 6pm to 8pm. This concert gives all AS and A2 students a chance to perform one of the pieces from their A Level Recital to a live audience, in preparation for performing in front of the visiting examiner in March.
This concert is a showcase for some of the most able and experienced performers at CRGS, and as such is always a wonderfully entertaining evening. We expect the concert to be a little shorter than the advertised two hours, and there will be a short interval in which complementary refreshments will be served. Entry is free of charge.
We very much hope to see you there!