4th July 2019
Once again, the year has been a busy one in the music department. We began with performances at Open Morning by our more advanced musicians, then collaborated across the school to produce Wychwood Remembers. All of the girls in the lower school sang as part of the evening and many of the older girls also performed in smaller ensemble choral items or as soloists. There was not a dry eye in the house. Clearly the girls and audience were truly moved by the sentiments expressed.
Also in November, the girls in the UTs studying BTEC music went to Coventry (the UK city of culture for 2021) on a music business day. They met with members of Coventry City Council’s licensing team, and the health and safety team responsible for events. They interviewed the director from the city council who is responsible for signing off the health and safety certificates for venues all around Coventry. Later in the morning, the girls visited Coventry Cathedral to meet their events manager and had a tour of the building, thinking about its uses for different events. We also discussed the necessity for the cathedral to raise funds through public events in order to be able to keep it open for religious worship. In the afternoon, the girls went to the Ricoh Arena, had a tour of the venue, and interviewed the head of events. We discussed the different types of events which have been staged there, from rugby and football matches to major concerts given by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and the Spice Girls.
In December, the choir made its annual visit to Green Gates Nursing Home to perform as much of our carol service as possible to the residents. This was an eye-opening experience for some of our girls, as they had not seen end of life or dementia care before, but everyone agreed that it had been really rewarding as they had been able to bring so much pleasure to those less fortunate than themselves.
The choir also had great fun at the school Christmas Fair, singing carols and light-hearted Christmas repertoire.
Hot on the heels of the Christmas Fair came the end of term carol service, where we were once again joined by Richard Goodall, the organist from St Margaret’s Church and also gentlemen singers from a range of Oxford Colleges. Some loyal Wychwood friends also returned to sing with us. I was incredibly proud of the standard of musicianship that the girls achieved.
When we returned in January, the focus was on the lower school, who were busy preparing for their Young Voices concert, which was held at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. It was an amazing evening, which saw the girls singing and dancing their hearts out. They returned to school absolutely buzzing from the experience.
At the end of the Hilary term, we had Performing Arts Evening, where the girls showcased their individual talents and demonstrated what accomplished musicians they are.
After the Young Voices concert, we were straight into rehearsals for Anne of Green Gables. This collaboration with the drama department saw two casts of girls produce super performances at the beginning of the Trinity term. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and Mrs Constance and I look forward to the next production!
The Trinity term began with more performances at Open Morning. Once Anne had finished, there were a quiet couple of weeks while the girls took examinations, then the Inters went on a trip to the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Music to play the Javanese gamelan. At the end of the trip, we went on a tour of the Bate Collection and were allowed to play instruments from across the time periods. We were also treated to an impromptu performance by a professional harpsichordist.
As we moved towards the end of term, the choir were rehearsing some pieces for fun (including Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen), the school rock band continues to practise, and we have just launched a new wind band.
All in all, it has been a rewarding year, and I look forward to working with the girls again in September.
Mrs Briony Walster