News from The Kings of Wessex Academy

Praise for Chamber Music Festival Students

24th April, 2019 by Sam Kail-Dyke, The Kings and Queens News Team

Earlier this month, The Kings of Wessex Academy Music Department played host to the second annual Kings of Wessex Chamber Music Festival, featuring students from Years 9 to 13 from both Kings and Sidcot Schools.

The Festival began with scores of ensembles lining up to play, not only for each other; but also to two expert judges Helen Mann (musician and piano teacher), and Howard Sayer (former Head of Music at Worle School, and Musical Director of the Weston Choral Society). As Subject Leader for Music, Sarah Righton, pointed out to students, playing in an ensemble is a completely different skill to the solo playing to which many might ordinarily be accustomed. It is however, also a vital one - both for the joy of sharing their craft with like-minded people and bettering ensemble skills, such as timing and balance; as well as being a compulsory element of the GCSE Music course.

The day’s performances lasted for well over three hours and showed the incredible scale and importance of Kings’ creative departments and also showed the diverse range of styles explored by students in and around their lessons all the way from Jewish folk songs played by a ukulele ensemble, to rock bands, and classical vocal and piano duets.

Following the initial performances, students were privileged to each receive personal and detailed feedback from the expert judges, thus ensuring students had the opportunity to build on the experience and continue to flourish in this incredibly important part of their curriculum. As well as providing feedback, the judges also chose a selection of the ensembles to be put forward to play in a recital evening to parents and friends later that week. Once again diversity could be seen in the programme, which saw people of all different influences and styles play together, learning from each other, and revelling in the sheer joy of music.

Commenting on the Festival, Executive Headteacher, Gavin Ball said:

“I am so proud of our students who shone in this year’s Chamber Music Festival. I know how hard they will have rehearsed and I praise them for their dedication and commitment in their chosen instrument.”

Expert judge Howard Sayer said:

“It was a lovely afternoon, with a high standard of music making, and I commend the very positive, motivated students.”

Music continues to play a huge part in the life of Kings, and for anyone who missed the musical spectacular they can catch another performance by the Academy’s finest musicians at the Spring Concert on Thursday 9 May 2019 at 7pm.