Birkenhead School Festival of Music 2016
Birkenhead School’s Festival of Music ran from 6th to 13th November 2016 and was packed full of musical treats which were enjoyed by all of the School community.
Family and friends of the School were invited to join students and the Birkenhead Choral Society for ‘Come and Sing the Musicals’ which kick started a week of music making on Sunday 6th November.
This was followed by a week of lunchtime recitals taking students on a journey through a variety of instruments from the organ, piano, strings, recorder and voice. Prep students were in particular high attendance, some even enjoying all five recitals.
The Festival also featured a GCSE study morning where we welcomed students from West Kirby Grammar and Calday Grange Grammar to spend time looking at the brand new GCSE syllabus and some of the set works. There was also a special workshop for some of our top string players, led by Gethyn Jones, where the students looked at their upcoming exam pieces and prepared for a lunchtime recital.
Highlights of the week were visits from professional musicians – guitarists Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier, and opera singer Jennifer Johnson.
Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier were on the Wirral as part of the International Guitar Festival held at the Floral Pavilion. They took time to spend the afternoon with some of our students with a guitar masterclass, taking them through the various guitars that they play, how they can create different effects and sounds with electronic enhancers, and how they have used a variety of influences when they compose their music. The duo also performed in the evening at Bushell Hall to a crowd enchanted by their blend of skill and ethereal sound.
Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston also spent the day at School, working with a group of singers in the morning, giving the regular Sixth Form lecture, entitled ‘Finding Your Voice’, and featuring in the lunchtime recital at Chapel. Jennifer, a parent at School, has recently returned from performing as Mrs Grose in Britten’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’ in Teatro Alla Scala in Milan and is a described by BBC Music Magazine and the Observer as a ‘rising star’.
Birkenhead School’s Got Talent featured on Friday night with a huge variety of performances from students from Year 6 to Sixth Form. There was singing, piano playing, beatboxing, dance and instrumental performances. The winner was James Budworth from Upper Sixth who gave a mesmerising rendition of ‘Stars’ from Les Miserables.
Students who attended Festival of Music events were put in to a prize raffle to win music vouchers. Alice from Year 3, Emme from Year 5 and Jimmy from Year 8 were the winners – congratulations!
The week of fantastic music making rounded off with the Service of Remembrance on Sunday 13th November where the hard working Chapel choir, as usual, provided and excellent standard of performance fitting for the occasion.
The Music Department now look forward to Christmas activities taking place throughout December which feature Nine Lessons and Carols on Sunday 11th and the whole School Christmas Concert on Thursday 15th.