Mr Hemmings, Director of Music, reports on the Autumn Term

The sheer delight and enjoyment evident in both pupils’ and staff members’ faces at the beginning of this term when we were finally able to make music together again was a joy to witness. The pleasure of doing what musicians do together again was slightly tempered by the realisation that this, busiest of terms in ordinary times, was going to be, and has proven to be somewhat quieter than usual in terms of public performing opportunities. Traditionally the Autumn Term brings with it the energy and excitement of preparing world premier performances of newly commissioned music for Remembrance, working closely with the London Mozart Players; rehearsing for the annual musical; getting festive for the Christmas Concert and the Carol Services.

We have, however, been able to record and assemble virtual concerts with our musicians for streaming and sharing on our music department website; every ensemble has managed to adapt to Covid requirements of size and spacing with the creativity and flexibility of our dedicated music team and the willingness of our pupils.

Our Music Scholars gave a lunchtime recital in the Cathedral, which can be viewed by clicking here and the Chamber Choir and instrumentalists recorded a piece of music for Remembrance. We shared some performances for a Rowan’s Hospice on-line fundraising event; with the Drama Department we were able to produce a live stream of the musical this year, A Chorus Line. Our rock bands and brass bands have been spreading the Christmas cheer at lunchtimes with al fresco performances and Christmas will be celebrated with performances recorded for streaming and sharing on the performance pages of our departmental website – click here.

Throughout the term our instrumental team has been delivering 1-1 instrumental lessons (with appropriate safety protocols in place) and ABRSM exams have been taken and Trinity exams recorded for on-line assessment.

We have found that the musicianship skills required to rehearse and perform socially distanced demanding, but it has forced us all to approach learning music in a different way. We have become more self-reliant as performers but also more sensitive and responsive listeners.

We are very much hoping to be able to return to more familiar means of performing next term! Our Spring Term Calendar will be published soon on the PGS Music website.