Concerts and Workshops
Prep II Concert
Prep II put on a lovely form concert on Tuesday.
A particular feature of the concert was the number of boys who have started wind and brass instruments this year as well as a good number of string players who began in Prep I. The concert ended with a medley of singing games, complete with balls being bounced, thrown and passed to the beat!
Prep III Concert
Prep III entertained their parents with their musical talents during the excellent Form Concert on Tuesday. They sang the Irish song ‘Oro, My Little boat’ and a Korean song ‘Doraji.
The strings and the wind ensemble played beautifully.
Eisteddfod Boys' Prep
St David’s Day allowed us all to see what a talented group of boys that we have at The Grange. Their musical performances were excellent and the Choir sang beautifully in preparation for their concert next week. The House Choral Poetry was very entertaining, ending in Grenville House winning with their rendition of ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’. This wasn’t enough to stop Drake though, who were crowned winners of the Eisteddfod, 2017.
School and community unite to tell story of Noah’s Ark through opera
Schoolboys transformed into a multitude of beautiful animals to put on an ambitious community opera with help from local musicians.
Pupils at The Grange performed as lions, tigers and bears among 47 other creatures when they retold the story of Noah’s Ark through Benjamin Britten’s multifaceted show, Noye’s Fludde.
Having taken place at The Blake Theatre on March 17 and 18, the immersive extravaganza – which has been described as ‘Britten meets Blue Peter’ – was a huge hit with two packed audiences.
Alongside every boy at The Grange, 50 extra musicians including senior pupils from Monmouth School, recorder players from the town, and a professional string quartet were part of the cast.
Professional opera singers played the parts of Mr and Mrs Noah.
Joe Walton, music coordinator at The Grange, said: “This was very different to a musical. It’s an opera written for a local community to perform. It’s written to be a piece that everyone can take part in, particularly children. There are around 130 boys at The Grange and 100 were animals forming the chorus. The rest of the boys played strings, brass and percussion instruments – including one created from sandpaper. One student, Theo, created the sound of rain with suspended mugs. The mugs work in a similar manner to a xylophone. Thankfully Theo is a pianist as well, because it’s quite hard to do. A true community element to the performance was the handbells which were played by Grange staff. The beautiful instruments were generously loaned to the School by Raglan based handbell group, Millenium Chimes.”
Luckily for the pupils, who range in age from seven to 11, trainee art teachers from UWE in Bristol volunteered their time to help create the impressive range of animal masks.
Noye’s Fludde Miracle, a poem by Joe Walton, music coordinator at The Grange
A musical miracle over two nights,
With a raging God,
Shedding dark and light
Across a firmament of faces.
A community cast together by Britten’s musical masterpiece.
An epic journey into a storm, set with passion, humanity,
Priceless human moments caught in the blink of an eye…
Animals hover backstage,
“What is happening here?” “Where are we?!” “What happens next?”
“I know!” says one… “Bar 76, bar 77!”
Music memorised, internalised, captured forever
By an eleven year old assistant musical director
And his 130 strong primary school cast,
Who have learnt this particular piece for life.
Opera singers fill the stage with power and presence,
Mrs Noye dragged onto an Ark by boys translated into sons and wives,
Transformed by this journey from distraction and chaos
To focused, sparkling joy.
As the storm breaks, community recorder players watch
The top of a broken conducting baton,
Swirling ever higher in the chaos,
To keep the beat across raging percussion, strings,
Voices, crying out,
‘Eternal Father Strong To Save’
Silently, the conductor crying
‘Hands out of pockets!’ to a daydreaming horse
Moments before he brings the boys in.
Final raindrops are heard on slung mugs,
‘til one crashes down
The player hitting silent raindrops
Sounding a new level of commitment
Ravens are sent,
Followed by a rugby playing, ballet dancing dove,
Tip toeing his way over the edifice of sleeping animals,
To a delicate bird call on recorder.
The final drama is captured by
10 hand bell ringing teachers and staff,
Shedding light over God,
‘Keep going guys!’
And they do
A glorious peal of bells emerging as the rainbow is unfurled
The organ sounds from on high
And a community is transfixed by the slow, powerful embrace of
‘What Though In Solemn Silence All’.
God emerges for a final farewell,
‘Where is he now?!’ the conductor cries
Bells peal, mugs tinkle
And a strange magical spell is cast
By eastern Gamelan music,
Recorders, strings, percussion,
By an eleven year old trumpeter.
Until its silent rest.
Pupils’ joyful concert raises £3k for African Children’s Choir
Over 200 pupils took to the stage with the African Children’s Choir to perform a joyful concert which celebrated life and the uniting power of music.
Children from Inglefield, The Grange and Agincourt sang a medley of uplifting songs alongside the touring musicians, raising nearly £3,000 to help them fulfil their dreams.
Started by a volunteer more than 40 years ago, the choir gives deprived children from across Africa the opportunity to tour the UK, US and Canada, performing along the way.
Hilary Phillips, Headmistress of Inglefield, said: “The concert was electrifying – brimming with energy and infectious enthusiasm.
“The organisation is called ‘Music For Life’. Particularly appropriate music is woven into life at Inglefield and the concert enables African children from Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Sudan and South Africa to have a better life.
“This was Choir 46 and 2 of the helpers, or ‘aunties and uncles’ as they’re known, had previously been in Choirs 14 and 19. They had graduated from universities in Africa, then gone back to work for the organisation helping more choirs to tour.
“Children in the choir spoke of their dreams, they wanted to become nurses, teachers, pilots, mechanics, midwives, bank managers.
“With close to £3k raised on Wednesday night, these dreams are now a little closer to becoming real.”
Pupils from each school and the choir practised separately, coming together for just two joint rehearsals to put it all together.
Mrs Phillips added: “The result was an explosion of colour, energy and pure happiness.
“After the concert, the African children headed off to stay with host families, then returned to school for lessons at Inglefield the next day – quite different from their usual surroundings!”
Members of the choir can be sponsored by people all over the world.
Inglefield House sponsors Phephile Mayisa and the children exchange letters with her regularly.
Choir impresses at momentous London concert
A talented ensemble of boys shone during their innovative performance as part of a momentous concert in St John’s Smith Square, London.
Singers at The Grange, who are taught using the progressive Kodály method, showcased the results of their hard work at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian composer’s death.
Zoltan Kodály, who was also a passionate teacher, set up a revolutionary systematic approach to music education where learning comes first through playful singing activity and later through conscious thought processes, through the use of handsigns and singing names (do re mi etc).
Put on by the British Kodály Academy, the concert on March 6 featured seven school choirs and demonstrated how successful his techniques really are.
The 38 Grange boys thoroughly impressed the audience, and their music teacher, Joe Walton, was delighted to receive a letter of thanks from Margaret Oliver, the charity’s Chair of Trustees.
She wrote: “Words seem an inadequate way of conveying to you the pleasure and gratitude of the Trustees, for your wonderful contribution to the Kodály Celebration Concert.
“Your choir sang beautifully – Suo Gân was a delightful choice: I loved the way the boys processed in singing – and both the Coombes and Chilcott pieces came over so well.
“It was an amazing evening and it was very moving to see and hear a gathering of children of such mixed ages, from different educational backgrounds, joining together to make music of such high quality – reinforcing and demonstrating our belief in the value of singing.
“We hope that they were all inspired by being the song makers, and that their experience will remain with them into the future and for the rest of their lives.”
The Kodály Approach provides tools to develop fundamentals such as pulse, inner hearing, good tuning and sight reading ability.
Mr Walton added: “The boys sang beautifully at the concert – it was a very proud moment.”