13 December 2018

Music highlights

A few Michaelmas term highlights from the Music department.

Share article:

A few Michaelmas term highlights from the Music department.

Charles Owen Piano Masterclass

On Tuesday 9 October we were joined by Charles Owen for a masterclass with some of our top piano students in the Recital Room. Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as ‘one of the finest British pianists of his generation’, he gave our lucky students individual coaching as well as observing sessions.

Sevenoaks singOFF

Our students organised a sing-off competition in October to raise money for charity. The event itself was a near sell-out and included 14 students from across the school, selected from over 40 auditionees. The two-hour competition was held in the Pamoja Hall, with a bake sale in the interval during the vote counting. A total of £2828 was raised in ticket sales alone and further money was raised through the bake sale and extra donations. A huge well done to all involved!

Senior Musicians’ Platform

Our talented Sixth Form students came together on 11 November to put on an amazing concert in the Recital Room. It featured wonderful solo performances as well as a couple of duets. The evening was very well attended by parents, teachers and peers and was almost a full house. Well done to everyone involved.

Middle School Musicians’ Platform

The Middle School Musicians’ Platform provided the opportunity for many gifted Middle School musicians to perform. The concert not only featured keen performers but also those who were preparing for their ABRSM and Trinity exams in early December, giving them the chance for a test run. Another well done to all!

National Youth Jazz Orchestra Workshops

On Wednesday 7 November, we welcomed NYJO to the Music department to lead three different workshops on developing jazz techniques and improvisation skills. This involved some of our top jazz musicians at the school, as well as students from Reigate Grammar School and other local schools. It was a great opportunity to hear from some of the best young jazz musicians in the country, in addition to working with the brilliant Mark Armstrong.

In the evening, NYJO performed their energetic ‘What Is Hip?’ programme, which included hits from Duke Ellington to Kylie Minogue – it was a fantastic mix of big band jazz from past and present and our students really enjoyed the opportunity to hear such a high quality group.

Music for a Cause

Two of our Sixth Form students, Noor Mansuri and Sofia Balk, organised a charity concert in the Pamoja Hall in November. The concert was held in the Pamoja Hall and pupils from across the whole school took part. This also involved many students baking cakes and biscuits to be sold during the interval. They raised an amazing total of over £1400. All proceeds went to the Save the Children Indonesian Tsunami Appeal.

Lower School Musicians’ Platform

The Lower School Musicians’ Platform is one of the rare occasions where you can see the whole of the Lower School in the same place at once. The concert, held in the Pamoja Hall at the end of November, featured all of our Year 7 and 8s, as well as some Year 9s, in large ensembles and smaller solo performances. Highlights included Mr Palmer’s fantastic arrangement of Holst’s The Planets played by the Foundation Orchestra, and the Lower School Singers’ performances of ‘Man in the Mirror’ and ‘Believer’. A huge well done to everyone involved!

Music at Sevenoaks Voyage en Francophonie

On Friday 30 November, the Music department held its big end of term concert alongside the French department. Voyage en Francophonie celebrated French artistic and cultural life, with poetry readings from students, plays, talks and lots of music from different ensembles and soloists.

Native French speakers and French students from across the school took part and the concert was a great success. Highlights included the Sennocke Consort’s performance of Debussy’s Yver vous n’estes qu’un villain and the Symphony Orchestra’s fantastic finale of Saint-Saens’ 3rd Symphony, featuring our very own Mr Heighway on the organ.


We also had theory and practical exams for a number of students and received the results for those who took ABRSM examinations last term. Congratulations went to all, as they achieved an excellent set of results. Notable mentions to the following who achieved outstanding marks in their ARSM and Grade 8 exams:

  • Camille Gontarek: Piano ARSM with Distinction
  • Louisa Child: Piano ARSM with Merit
  • Florence Coumbe: Grade 8 Flute with Distinction
  • Ray Hayashi: Grade 8 Violin with Distinction

Crash into Christmas

Crash into Christmas 2018 saw fantastic performances from the school Big Band, Jazz Band, Sax Quartet, Flute Choir, Senior Girls’ Choir, Voices and A Cappella group for a brilliant evening of Christmassy music-making. As always, the concert closed with a finale singalong with all of the performers as ‘snow’ fell in the Pamoja Hall and Father Christmas ran through the audience!

Carol Service

The Carol Service at St Nicholas this year featured some lovely carols sung by our various choirs. We heard performances by Voices, the Senior Girls’ Choir, Sennocke Consort, Choral Society and Parents’ Choir as well as the Junior Chamber Choir. After the service, everyone gathered together to enjoy some mince pies and mulled wine and chat about their Christmas plans.

The year ended with carol singing in The Space for all year groups on the last morning of term, including a staff rendition of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’.

Share article:

Back to all news