The greatest excitement has been the gradual return to live performing. In May two of our Sixth form Music Scholars, Habina Seo and Erik Hillman performed a stunning lunchtime recital of music for voice and trombone to a hugely appreciative audience in Portsmouth Cathedral. This was a fitting way to end their time at PGS and was a celebration of two very talented performers.

The culmination of the term was our first live choral and orchestral concert performances since December 2019. As part of Ports Fest’s Remember, Reimagine, Reset Festival the Music Department hosted a weekend of live performances on a large stage in the Quad. Saturday night was a collaboration between Music and Drama and showcased the amazing talents of our musical theatre performers. Musicals Past and Present featured performances from current and former pupils of songs from shows that PGS had put on in the past, along with our future show (Little Shop of Horrors) and contemporary Broadway and West End masterpieces. Sophisticated, assured and professional, this was an evening of top quality solo and ensemble vocal performances accompanied by a fabulous 4 piece band.

Sunday evening’s concert, Reconnecting, reunited our orchestral players and singers with our Associate Musicians, the London Mozart Players, in powerful and celebratory performances of new music and old favourites. There were no fewer than four world premiere performances and over 100 pupils performing during the evening with the London Mozart Players. Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite featured 15 of our more experienced string players playing side by side with the LMP. Year 12 composer, Sam Hemingway’s evocative Intermezzo for Violin and Orchestra showed remarkable maturity in its handling of texture and large chamber orchestra. A brand new arrangement of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Four African Dances by composer and conductor George Morton was given its first public performance (conducted by the arranger). Richard Brown’s exuberant Pageant of the Sea combined PGS Wind, Brass, Percussion and String players on stage with members of the LMP and received its premiere conducted by Director of Music, Gareth Hemmings. Till We Meet Again was a brand new folk song suite commissioned from Assistant Director of Music, Pande Shahov, and received its first performance, conducted by the composer, sung by PGS Year 5 choir, Year 7-8 Chamber Choir, Senior Chambers Choir along with singers from Castle Primary School, Meon Primary and Milton Cross Junior school. The concert finished with Fantasia on British Sea Songs. A British institution and staple of the Last Night of the Proms this rousing end to the concert featured new words for Rule Britannia, written by PGS pupils. There could clearly be no other way to end an evening like this apart from inviting the audience to join together singing Jerusalem.

The rain held off, the audience of parents, friends and members of the local community clearly appreciated the live performances and it was fantastic and hugely encouraging to see pupils from Year 5 to Year 13 sharing the stage and performing so confidently.

We are so proud of our musicians and their work and effort during this last year. The Summer Term has been no exception with pupils. Congratulations to all the pupils who have taken digital exams and live exams this term and achieved excellent results:

Year 2

Arabella Banfield – Cornet grade 3 merit

Year 3

George Cotton – French horn grade 3 pass

Year 4

Heidi Hubbard – Clarinet grade 4 merit

Freya Lydall – Trombone grade 4 merit

Eloisa Merino-Sola – Piano grade 1 merit

Archie Brown – Double Bass grade 2 merit

Thomas Coltman – Trombone grade 1 pass

Bobbi Anarfi – Euphonium grade 4 merit

Sophie Clay – Trumpet grade 1 merit

Louise Gao – Trumpet grade 1 pass

Year 5

Tom Anthony Smallwood – Cornet grade 4 merit

Luca Cockrell – Euphonium grade 3 merit

Alex Biddle – Tenor Horn grade 1 pass

Amelia Bass-Sander – Trumpet grade 3 pass

Frederick Carlton-King – Trumpet 3 pass

Year 6

Edward Hubbard – Cornet grade 6 merit

Noah Hemmings – Double Bass – grade 5 merit

Max Holmes – Trumpet grade 4 merit

Zachary Repton – Trumpet grade 3 merit

Alex Seager – Trombone grade 4 pass

Philip Leon-Mouquet – Piano grade 4 pass

William Muscat – Tenor Horn grade 3 pass

Ana Cuthbert – Tenor Horn grade 5 pass

David Cuthbert – Tuba grade 5 pass

Year 7

Josie Wilson-Smith – Piano grade 3 distinction

Rosie Lewis – Flute grade 3 distinction

Joe Priestley – Saxophone grade 2 distinction

Claude Young – Violin grade 5 merit

Wilf Brown – Tenor Horn grade 1 merit

Year 8

Sanuli Weganthale – Singing grade 3 merit

Oliver Apperley – French Horn grade 4 merit

Elizabeth Carter – Jazz Clarinet grade 4 pass

Year 9

Lucy Harris – Flute grade 6 merit

Sophie Price – Cello grade 5 merit

Lucca Drake – Cello grade 5 pass

Craig McGeever – Flute grade 7 pass

Year 10

Hannah Nicholls – Jazz Clarinet grade 6 merit

Sam Bertenshaw – Piano grade 7 merit

Ana Powell Ramalla – Clarinet grade 4 merit

James McCallum – Recorder grade 8 merit

Year 11

Liberty Mitchel Brock – Piano grade 7 distinction

Year 12

Maya Russell – Piano grade 7 merit

Year 13

Matthew Chimbwandira – Clarinet grade 4 merit