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A Musical Term

A Musical Term
Music Co-Curricular Life

The question for KES Music has been, can we achieve in the Summer Term, the same outstanding level of musicianship, professionalism, and variety of experience, to complete what has been a truly ‘vintage’ year for KES Music so far. As I write this, with only two performances to go (Final Assembly and Founder’s Day in Bath Abbey) out of our programme of over 50 performance opportunities this year, we are tantalisingly close to perhaps a best ever! 

Only three days into the Summer Term, our choirs, vocal groups and soloists produced a stunning Choral Extravaganza Concert showcasing just why our many singers had been awarded distinction and outstanding certificates plus trophies in the Mid-Somerset Festival competitions in March. What can I say to take you there? Such a glittering array of repertoire from C16th madrigals, through famous choral masterpieces, dazzling Music Theatre numbers including the new show SIX, to 80’s rock ballads, Dolly Parton and right up to the present day with Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga. Wow! Our choirs then performed wondrously in St. Stephen’s Church three days later alongside Bath’s CitySounds Choir, to help them celebrate their 10th anniversary. 

Coronation Day was celebrated in fine style two weeks later with a 2-hour concert from the balcony of the Wessex Building by our KES Baroque Group, Saxophone Ensemble, KES Soul, all wrapped up with a large gathering of the KES community singing the National Anthem from the terrace and steps below, accompanied by the KES Senior Orchestra playing the genuine national ceremonial arrangement by Gordon Jacobs. Stirring stuff.

On top of perhaps the most polished set of A Level Music recitals I’ve witnessed for many years, we held three full days of ABRSM exams, a morning of Trinity Exams, a wonderful new outdoor busking recital outside the library by our Year 10 GCSE Music students, a fun Year 13 leavers band performance from the Wessex balcony, can we mention the awesome CCF Drum Corps 15 musical parade in the middle school car park here?, as well as a superb Year 7 and 8 concert with tea and cake! This latter event showed us all just how many exciting talented musicians there are coming through from the younger years, and our INTER-KES (intermediate) orchestra showcased their wonderful developing ensemble skills including a fantastic new arrangement of Kate Bush’s revived classic, Running Up That Hill by Mr Riordan.  

This year’s professional partnership programme with Bath Philharmonia was brought to a fitting finale with not only two inspirational masterclasses for Lower Strings and Brass from Bath Phil’s cellist, Jonathan Few, and horn player, Matthew Cooke, but also an amazing masterclass in KES by young, world-class Brazilian guitar soloist Plínio Fernandes.  KES had sponsored the previous night’s packed concert in The Forum by Plínio, accompanied by Bath Philharmonia, and our KES Music students were given exclusive access to their rehearsals earlier that afternoon where they met and chatted with the musicians. 

It has been an amazing tenyears of partnership with Bath Phil, and to celebrate this we undertook a new, community music outreach project alongside the orchestra’s Creative Learning Team (BPCLT) during the KES Activities Week. Day 1 saw the BPCLT and Music Staff visit St Martin’s Garden Primary School making recordings of musical ideas provided by pupils from the Margaret Coates Centre who have a diagnosis from the Autistic Spectrum. Day 2 saw the BPCLT work with 8 of our top KES Music pupils from Years 11-13 as they developed these sounds into a fully formed and choreographed piece inspired by Anna Meredith’s body percussion piece, Connect It. Day 3, nearly 80 pupils from St Martin’s Garden Primary School came to KES and were taught by our KES pupils and the BPCLT this brand-new piece, culminating in an audio recording made in the Sports Hall and a videoed performance on the Astro using a drone. I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding this project was for everyone involved. Moving and totally awesome! 

Our deep thanks to all the pupils, KES Academic and Specialist Music Staff, as well as members of Bath Philharmonia team who have worked over the whole year to make 2022-23 such a special musical year. As you can imagine, we have some exciting plans for 2023-24 too. Come and get involved!

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A Musical Term