Prep School Directors of Music Day

Category: Music, General, Events

On Tuesday 2nd May, Marlborough welcomed the directors of music from 23 prep schools alongside 51 Year Six pupils for a full and varied day of musical outreach and networking.

Following a registration and greeting from PTD in the Memorial Hall, the delegates were treated to a trip to Norwood ahead of a welcome from Niall Hamilton (Senior Admissions Tutor) and a lunchtime concert showcasing the full spectrum of music at Marlborough, featuring performances from scholars and non-scholars, from the Shell to the Sixth Form. The Remove Percussion Ensemble provided a gripping start, followed by an impressive solo performance from saxophonist, Matthew Valetsky (CO Sh). Finally, members of the Chamber Orchestra performed the first movement from Vivaldi’s Double Cello Concerto, showcasing soloist Luke Smith (CO L6).

The delegates split into four groups for brief tours around the campus before converging on the chapel, where the party enjoyed an organ performance from music scholar Annabel Hannan (NC Re). The DoMs were then whisked off by PTD to the Adderley for a presentation and discussion panel while the prep school pupils participated in a ‘Singing for Pleasure’ workshop led by Alex Hodgkinson. Members of the Marlborough Chapel Choir were intermixed with the younger children to offer support and inspiration. After some warm-ups and singing games, the group learnt the Sanctus from Fauré’s Requiem before a cream tea in the Norwood Hall.

Fully refreshed, the cohort split into two groups - Strings and Wind – for workshops with Hector Scott and Alex Arkwright (AJA) respectively. The string group in the Goodison Hall were supported by four Marlburians in the Sixth Form through a rehearsal of an arrangement of the Chinese folk song Jasmine Flower followed by a workshop on bowing technique and a brief session on the links between music and art.

AJA occupied the Memorial Hall with the wind, brass, and percussion players for an engaging session on pulse and meter before learning a version of Homecoming by ear, featuring plenty of opportunity for improvisation. This was another side-by-side workshop, with Marlborough pupils freely giving of their time and talent to support the prep school students. For me, this was amongst the most impressive aspects of the day: it was heartening to see the relish with which the Marlburians took to the situation, clearly enjoying playing alongside the younger children, on whom I know the experience will have had an enormous impact.

The day concluded with a performance of all of the music which had been workshopped, with the parents of the prep school students in attendance. The singing opened proceedings before AJA’s cohort gave an assured performance of some of the clapping games they had played which made for a very impressive spectacle, particularly when the complexities were explained to the audience. This led into a dynamic rendition of Homecoming which showcased improvised solos from the prep school children. Finally, the string group performed their effulgent arrangement of Jasmine Flower. Full feedback from the day is yet to be received, but pupils, DoMs, and parents alike were very impressed by, and appreciative of, the programme of events offered, and all went back to their respective schools with a full picture of musical life at Marlborough.

James Bartlett
Graduate Music Assistant

'Thank you so much for today!  What a superb opportunity to meet, listen and share!'

James Wilkinson, St George’s School, Windsor Castle


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