Page 28 - Independent Schools Magazine
P. 28

Success runs in the family
Orchestras at St Albans High School for Girls (STAHS), Hertfordshire, are thriving under the direction of the school’s
new Conductor in Residence.
Ben Palmer is a London-based freelance conductor and composer, and is Artistic Director of OSP
(the Orchestra of St Paul’s) and chamber choir The Syred Consort. He works regularly with groups such as the BBC Singers, the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, the London Mozart Players, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin.
Ben joined STAHS last term
with the aim of introducing challenging repertoire and stretching the school’s already highly accomplished Symphony and Chamber Orchestras. He conducted his  rst concert in November, leading the Symphony Orchestra
in excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique Symphony and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, and the Chamber Orchestra in works by Faure and Haydn.
By inviting a professional conductor to work with the school orchestras, STAHS hopes the girls will be pushed beyond what they thought possible, building their con dence through purposeful struggle.
Ben said: “For young people, learning to play in an orchestra at a high level is an amazing experience. It requires high levels of verbal
and non-verbal communication, understanding of individual and collective responsibility, and the need to be both controlled and creative. Of course, these are skills that are transferable to all walks of life, whether or not the girls go on to have careers in music. Playing in an orchestra is also just incredibly exciting, and it’s fantastic to watch young musicians experience some of these pieces for the  rst time.”
Ben builds on the work of the school’s Director of Music, Dr Nigel Springthorpe, who retires this year. Nigel’s legacy to the school is that each Thursday around a quarter
of students rehearse in one of  ve bands and orchestras that meet after school.
A talented family are celebrating a prize winning set of performances at the recent Harrogate Competitive Festival of Music, Speech and Drama.
The four Attwood sisters, who all attend Cundall Manor School, North Yorkshire, all competed in the contest in which performers take to the stage to compete in front of a panel of adjudicators at Harrogate High School.
The sisters secured a total of 18 accreditations between them with 14 podium  nishes and 7 top prizes.
categories and performed a duet to claim the top prize for best acted scene in their category.
Director of Music at Cundall Manor School, Sarah Reece, said: “This year we have seen a wonderful set of performances from Cundall pupils at the Harrogate Competitive Festival. The Attwood girls performed very well and we are all proud to see such commitment from our pupils.”
The festival marked a momentous occasion for the younger two sisters, Mary and Peggy, who marked their debut at the festival with a second place with distinction for verse speaking and a commendation for solo singing respectively.
Older sisters, Flossie and Hattie, both triumphed in their song and speech Pictured: Flossie and Hattie with some of their prizes
Conductor in Residence
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Spring concert
An evening of musical entertainment provided by over 120 young musicians at the Farlington School, Sussex, Spring Concert was rounded off by Farlingtonic, a choir composed of staff and friends of Farlington, who effectively brought the drama of the West End to their performance of With One Look from Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard.
Farlingtonic was then joined on stage by Skatz!, Glee, Junior Choir and the audience in a
rousing rendition of Queen’s classic Don’t Stop Me Now. Jane Thomas and Brian Dallimore organised the event.
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