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 lunchtime recital series.
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 occasionally performs outside school and there are yearly tours abroad, recent destinations including Venice, Chatres, Slovenia and this year Wallonia & Maastricht.
Our Chamber Choir is an auditioned ensemble consisting of approximately 20 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 Smetana's Moldau and John Williams’ ‘Superman March’ 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’. Members of the Senior and Chamber Orchestras often accompany the choir on tour.
Big Band plays jazz standards to a good level, and there is usually considerable overlap in membership between this group and Senior Orchestra. Oftentimes, musicians who play a non-coventional orchestral instrument such as baritone saxophone will be able to join orchestra and play a newly arranged part.
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 more 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. The most recent production, ‘Guys and Dolls’ was a great success, with outstanding performances from the cast and band, as well as being directed by a student!
Spring Concert: 17th March 2020
Charter Hall School Prom: 20th March 2020
We very much hope to see you there!