Music Concerts and Events

SH Musicians in Tea Time Concert 7th March 2017

On Tuesday 7th March School House musicians performed in a Tea Time concert. The Year 7 boys choir, which includes all boys in year 7, started the concert with a performance of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' and were followed by a varied program from students across year 7 and 8.

SH Musicians in Tea Time Concert

SH Choir and Year 6 choir at Two Moors Festival: Songs of Praise 18th October 2015

Two Moors Festival: Songs of PraiseIt was a real honour for Blundell’s to be asked to contribute to the ‘Songs of Praise’ held at St Peter’s Church, Tiverton as part of this year’s Two Moors Festival. With the older students occupied with last minute preparations for House Music, the School House Choir, along with the best singers from the Prep School represented Blundell’s at the event. They gave a beautiful performance of John Rutter’s much-loved ‘A Clare Benediction’, and members of the congregation commented afterwards on the clarity and musicality of their singing.

Choral Eucharist for St Michael & All Angels Tuesday 6th October 2015

A crisp and sunny Autumnal morning was made extra special this week with a full choral Eucharist for the feast of St Michael and All Angels. The mass setting was Joseph Haydn’s ‘Missa brevis Sancti Johannis de Deo’. The choir coped well with the exciting polytextual demands of the Gloria, and the whole mass was sensitively accompanied by the Senior String Ensemble.

Harvest Festival Sunday 13th September 2015

Harvest Festival serviceYears 7-9 and parents gathered for the annual Harvest Festival on Sunday 13th September. The Chapel was decorated once again with colourful displays of produce by each of the houses. The Chamber Choir began the service with a sensitive performance of Duruflé’s challenging motet ‘Ubi caritas et amor’. The anthem was Elgar’s rousing Harvest anthem ‘Fear not, O land’, and this was sing with gusto by the full Chapel Choir. Many thanks to all who took part, and particularly to Head of School Chris Hamilton, who played us out on the organ with the thrilling ‘Processional’ by Grayston Ives. Excerpts from the service can be found here.

Adam Soul offered place in the Royal School of Church Music’s Millennium Youth Choir May 2015

Congratulations to Adam Soul for being awarded a place in the Royal School of Church Music’s Millennium Youth Choir. This national choir, consisting of around 36 singers, is very much the flagship choir of the RSCM and to earn his place through audition is exceedingly impressive.

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New Piano for Department 27th April 2015

Many thanks to Mrs Soul who very kindly donated a family piano to the department. It will make a wonderful addition to the fine pianos we have, and will certainly be well used, by pupils and staff alike.

Bath Abbey Evensong 25th April 2015

Evensong at Bath AbbeyOn Saturday April 25th the Chamber Choir travelled to Bath to perform evensong in the Abbey. The service was wonderful and the choir sung with delightful musicality, performing Bruckner as an introit, a psalm, responses, an anthem by Whitbourn and harmonising the hymn. They were so impressive the abbey has already asked us to return as the guest choir for a whole weekend of services next year. Dr Leaman would like to thank all the musicians involved for their hard work and dedication.

The following were in attendance; Imi Sanders-Dutton, Rosalie Sanders, Emma Nelson, Amelia Low, Sophie Donne, Mantha Unsworth-White, Tabi Unsworth-White, Natalie Cotton, Becky Brinkley, Jess Harvie, Beth Squires, Antony Liu, Alfred Tse, Toby Whitehead, Kieran Smith, Chris Hamilton, Callum Graham, Adam Soul, Jonathan Lane.

Big Band & Soul Band Concert for Tiverton Museum 24th April 2015

On Friday night the Big Band and Soul Band performed to an incredibly appreciative audience in the annual Tiverton Museum fundraising concert.

Tiverton Museum themselves commented as follows; “As usual Blundell's put on an extraordinary show of talent last night, thank you and your music students for giving us such a wonderful evening's entertainment. Their talents are amazing, the soloist singers and instrumentalist were brilliant and I am sure if they are not following different careers we will be hearing and probably seeing a lot more of them in the future.”

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Choir Tour 27th-31st March

On Friday 27th March the Choir Tour of Barcelona escaped the overcast skies of the UK and spent five gloriously sunny days in Catalonia. The nineteen singers, accompanied by Miss Scott, Miss Hosking, Rev Hunt, Mr Gordon, Dr Leaman and Mr Hernandez Garcia and the Spanish Language tour, had a wonderful experience soaking up the sounds and sights of a quite amazing array of concert, trips and excursions.

Choir TourChoir Tour

The choir experienced rooftop rehearsals concerts in the Gaudi masterpiece Sagrada Familia, performing at the hilltop monastery of Montserrat on Palm Sunday, and giving a full concert followed by mass service in Barcelona Cathedral. The level of music making was quite exceptional, and the choir sounded superb. Special mention must be made of the soloists, Emma Nelson performing an aria by Handel, and solos in Faure’s Requiem by Rosalie Saunders, Adam Soul (both year 11) and Kieran Smith (year 10).

Choir TourChoir Tour

As well as amazing musical performance opportunities, the group also experienced walks around Las Ramblas and the port, a jazz gig, a concert of Mozart’s Requiem, a mountaintop walk at Montserrat, complete with glorious sunshine and panoramic views back across Barcelona and to the sea beyond.

The tour was a huge success, great fun and extremely musically adventurous and satisfying, and Dr Leaman would like to thank all who took part for a wonderful trip.

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Spring Concert 18th March 2015

Spring ConcertCongratulations to the 200 musicians who took part in the Spring Concert on Wednesday evening. The event was absolutely stunning, with a huge array of musical variety and talent on offer. The students involved were extremely professional and I have had an enormous number of compliments from parents and staff alike. The first half featured all of the large ensembles and some wonderful chamber music groups and then we were treated to a beautiful second half in the Chapel, culminating in a captivating performance of Faure's Requiem. Congratulations to Dr Leaman, Mr Wynell-Mayow and Mr Gordon on producing such a fine evening of music.

Spring ConcertSpring Concert

Devon Performing Arts Festival March 2015

The last two weeks have also seen a string of successes for the musicians of Blundell's competing in the Devon Performing Arts Festival. Individual successes came from Laura Smith in year 7, Kieran Smith, who won the Cope Memorial Trophy for violin solo and Becky Brinkley who won the the Memorial Trophy for clarinet solo. In ensemble music The Junior String Group, Senior String Group, Saxophone Quartet and Big Band all won their categories.

Full Colours Awarded to Rowan Carew 9th March 2015

Rowan has been an exceptionally dedicated and inspirational musician in his time at Blundell’s. He has been a figure very much at the forefront of music making in the school, especially in the pop and jazz genres. Not only does he take part fully in school ensembles, such as bug Band, Soul Band and Choir, but he also is pivotal in the organisation and success of Open Mic Nights and of course Blundell’s Unplugged. He must also be recognised for the huge impact he has had on House Music over the years as well as his contribution to student bands. As a Music Monitor he has been exemplary in his desire to see Music grow and prosper and has given a real voice to the student body. An exceptional guitarist, Rowan is also a decent drummer and very talented pianist and his have-a-go attitude is an example to us all. He is a fine ambassador to school music making both internally and also in the wider community and rowan is fully deserving of his full Colours for Music.

Ronnie Scott’s invitation for Jack Armstrong-Williams 1st March 2015

Congratulations to Jack Armstrong-Williams of Year 9 who was invited to play at the famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London on 1st March alongside the Ronnie Scott's Jazz Orchestra; a world famous Big Band.

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Valentine's Dinner at Bickleigh Castle 14th February 2015

Chris Hamilton of the Lower Sixth provided light music on the Great Hall, providing a convivial and romantic background to pre-prandial drinks. The Great Hall was candlelit and the log fire was burning and everyone commented how well he played, and how immaculately turned out and professional he was.

Taunton Young Singer of the Year – Success in Final 8th February 2015

Blundell’s can be extremely proud of Emma Nelson and Rosalie Sanders who competed in the final of the Taunton Young Singer of the Year on Sunday 8th February. They both presented a 15 minute programme and sang exceptionally well. Emma was awarded third prize which was an excellent achievement, especially considering the winner was from Wells Cathedral School. Many congratulations to both girls.

Competition Success at the Taunton and Somerset Festival of Music and Drama 6th February 2015

Congratulations to Emma Nelson who won two categories at the Taunton and Somerset Festival of Music and Drama. She won the Cleves shield for Classical Vocal Solo and the Cleves Cup for Folk Song Solo.

School House Teatime Concert 3rd February 2015

Another packed Music Foyer enjoyed this term’s School House Teatime Concert. It was a lovely evening of informal music making, featuring many fine performances from those in the younger years. The following pupils are to be congratulated on their performances;
Mark Schoelhammer, Maria Karpova, Jessica Whitehead, Theo Rees, James Hutton, Jack Winzer, Poppy Davenport, Livvy Charteris, Zoe Labdon, Laura Smith, George Gibbs, Joseph Horsey, Sophie Clough, Grace Labdon, Tom Reynolds

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Orchestral Charity Fundraiser, Colston Hall, Bristol 25th January 2015

Beccy Brinkley and Judit Lam took part in a scratch orchestra of 290 and choir of 260 to raise money for cancer research, the musicians playing together for the first time that morning. There was a wide variety of music, from Beethoven 5th and Verdi’s Grand March from Aida to Yesterday and Summer Nights. The total raised exceeded a staggering £10,000; eclipsing even the amazing line up of 46 clarinets, 52 flutes, 54 violins, 10 oboes and 16 trumpets. Congratulations to both for giving up their time to support such a worthwhile cause.

Music Theatre Competition Success January 2015

Congratulations to Imi Sanders-Dutton who won the prize for the most promising young performer aged between 14 and 16 in the Taunton Young Music Theatre Competition. She performed with an amazing sense of accomplishment and maturity and fully deserved this recognition.

Organ Recital 13th January 2015

The organ is heard every day at Blundell’s in the morning Chapel Services, but it was wonderful on Tuesday evening for the instrument to take centre stage. Throughout the evening the audience was treated to a vivid illustration of the different colours that can be wrought from the Blundell’s organ, from the strident organo pleno employed in a Buxtehude prelude to the subtle and haunting timbre needed for Messaien’s Le banquet celeste. Notable performances included Chris Hamilton’s virtuosic take on Vierne’s Carillon de Longpont and Judit Lam’s sensitive approach to a selection of short pieces by C.V. Stanford.

New Apple Macs for Music Department January 2015

A huge thank you to the Old Blundellians for providing funds to purchase 3 new Apple Mac computers. This brings the total in the Mac technology and composing suite to 7, which is now enough for a complete A-level set to work simultaneously. The Macs will enable students from year 7 through to 13 to compose using industry standard computer software, such as Logic X for sequencing and Sibelius 7.5 for notation. It will also now be possible to run more advanced programs such as Max/MSP, which is used in Higher Education as a live sound manipulation tool.

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Scholars’ Concert 14th November 2014

On Friday night in Big School, 150 parents were treated to a quite exceptional concert from the School’s current Music Scholars. The composers of the works performed varied from Beethoven, Debussy, Rachmaninov and Poulenc to Desmond, Neihaus and a traditional Raga. The quality of musicianship from the pupils was quite outstanding, from years 7 through to 13. The first half saw performances by ensembles in School House and solos from those in years 9-11. After a glass of wine we heard further solos by the Sixth Form. The professionalism and talent of all the pupils made all connected with Blundell’s feel enormously proud and the evening was a highlight of this academic term.

It is impossible to single out any individuals as the collective was so strong and sincere congratulations are due to all. Performers are included below;

Rowan Carew (Guitar), Rebecca Hamilton and Frances Hunt (vocal duet), Sparkle Menzies (Voice), Molly Moor, Laura Smith, Sophie Clough, Rebecca  Hamilton, Frances Hunt and Jessica Whitehead (String Ensemble), Jack Klinkenberg (Piano), Jack Armstrong-Williams (Alto Saxophone), Mantha Unsworth-White (‘Cello), Imogen Cotton (Violin), Sophia Donne (Voice), Kieran Smith (Violin), Adam Soul (Voice), Rosalie Sanders (Voice), Toby Whitehead (Clarinet), Antony Liu (Violin), Max Berry (Drums), Becky Brinkley and Natalie Cotton (Saxophone duet), Judit Lam (Piano), Zoe Hitchens (Clarinet), Callum Graham (Piano), Harriet and Edward Nash (Piano duet), Emma Nelson (Voice), Chris Hamilton (Piano), Freya de Lisle (Sitar)

Trip to Carmen, Welsh National Opera, Bristol 12th November 2014

Despite the rain and the cold, the 17 pupils and 8 staff who attended this trip were left with the bright lights and sunshine of Sevilla in their hearts, despite the tragedy that befits Carmen and her assorted lovers. The WNO staging was wonderful to watch and the production was most enjoyable. The tension through Acts III and IV was especially well-devised, with a wonderful metaphor to bullfighting between the estranged lovers in the final scene. It was excellent for the pupils to see such high art and hear such excellent music making.

Remembrance Service 9th November 2014

Years 11-13 and parents gathered for the annual service of remembrance. The choir sang beautifully to fill the Chapel with eth poignant refrains of Tibie Paiom, by the 19th century Russian Orthodox composer Dmitri Bortnianski. They also performed The Souls of the Righteous by living composer Geraint Lewis. This piece was particularly moving. The final refrain of “…but they are in peace” echoed to absolute silence from the congregation as the message of the text made its considerable impact. The Chamber Choir completed the service outside in their performance of For the Fallen, by Douglas Guest. This was a fitting end to a very moving morning. Mention must also be made of the trumpeters, who were extremely assured in their renditions of The Last Post and Reveille.

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School House Teatime Concert 21st October 2014

Nearly 100 audience members crammed into the Music Department foyer to watch the first of this year’s School House Teatime concerts. The wonderful performances, many the first in the school for those in Year 7, were washed down with plentiful tea and cakes and the atmosphere was incredibly friendly and supportive. The following pupils are to be congratulated on their performances on a variety of instruments, as solos, duets, trios or quartets;

Jessica Whitehead, Grace Chapman, Olivia Cowap, Emma Edwards, Alice Lilley, Rebecca Hamilton, Mark Schoellhammer, Frances Hunt, Amber Sharp, James Hutton, Jack Winzer, Harry Charlesworth, Laura Smith, Zoe Labdon, Alex Curtis, Duncan Johnson-Ferguson, Poppy Davenport, Olivia Cowap.

Full Colours Awards 20th October 2014

Ed Nash

There are few in the school community that will not be familiar with Ed’s ability to compose, arrange and perform an astonishing array of different kinds of music and it is without doubt that he is an exceptional musician. Earlier this term the Head presented Ed with certificates for achieving merits in both his grade 8 piano and violin in the same examination period and he is also a fine trumpeter and possesses a terrific singing voice. Ed’s commitment to school music making is second to none, and he has represented the Choir, Chamber Choir, Orchestra, String Orchestra, Big Band and Soul Band for a number of years. As a soloist he has played a pivotal role in representing the best of the Music department, including performances in concerts and at the Open Mic evenings where he often shows us the great diversity of his repertoire including also his gift for comic timing. Ed’s ability to enthuse those around him about the possibilities for music has also been legendary and few will have forgotten his ensemble pieces and directorship of the Petergate musicians at the last House Music Competition. In building on this Ed has also taken music out of the school and in to the community. He has worked with his Petergate musicians this year to form a choir that will be visiting Margaret Allen House in Tiverton later in the term where a number of Year 11 are working in the community. Ed has entertained and inspired us and he is without doubt fully deserving of full colours for Music.

Emma Nelson

Emma will be familiar to all in the school not only for the beauty, confidence and tone of her voice, but also for the modesty with which she always performs. It is hard to remember that Emma only joined Blundell’s a year ago, and it would be hard to imagine anyone having had a greater impact in that space of time. Having achieved distinction in her grade 8 singing examination last term, Emma is currently applying for a place at Music College to further her studies in vocal performance. This will come as little surprise, as we have all been treated to her wonderful ability as a performer and communicator of the full expression of music in her time here. Emma has performed with a huge array of different roles including taking a solo role in the School’s main choral concert alongside professional soloists and going on tour not only with the choir but also as the only vocal soloist on the Big Band Tour to Brittany. Emma is an exceptional ambassador for music of all genres and has had many accolades including her selection as a member of the National Youth Choir, winning the Taunton and Somerset Music Festival and also earning a place on the renowned Eton Choral course this summer. In addition to the many choir and solo performances we have been treated to, Emma regularly performs locally and had a guest slot recently at Rotary Club charity fund-raising concert raising funds for cancer charities and further enhancing our good reputation in the wider community. Emma has a rare talent and she continues to support the music of others and she is fully deserving of full colours for Music.

Violin masterclass with Agata Szymczewska 19th October 2014

As part of the Two Moors Festival, on Sunday afternoon Agata Szymczewska visited Blundell’s Chapel to give a violin masterclass. Three of our students played for her and she was full of enthusiasm and helpful tips as she shared her wisdom and expertise with them. Her engagement with the students and clear love of her instrument was a joy to see and it was a most worthwhile day for all who came, whether affiliated Blundell’s or not.

Flute and Harp Recital with Lucille Burns and Jean Kelly 16th October 2014

Following a delightful assembly for the main school, Lucille Burns and Jean Kelly gave a scintillating recital in the Chapel on Thursday evening. Approximately 100 members of the audience were treated to a programme brimming with the ethereal and shimmering music of Bach, Andres, Rossini. In the second half the works showed the virtuosity and alternative characters of the instruments through mystical Debussy, lively Piazzolla and menacing Liebermann. The whole recital was electric from the very first note to the last and the quality of musicianship was extraordinary. The intimate and cosy setting of the chapel made for a quite beautiful evening; the perfect place to shelter from the thunder and lightning outside.

Simon Allen masterclass and concert with Big Band, Soul Band and Saxophone Sextet 15th October 2014

To celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax, we were joined by the amazingly talented Simon Allen, who took time out of his busy touring schedule with Jamie Cullum to give a 4 hour workshop to the school Big Band, Soul Band and Saxophone Sextet. Simon AllenHe worked tirelessly with each group, teaching skills in jazz phrasing, articulations and improvisation. The resulting work from the afternoon was presented in a charity concert to parents, friends and staff in the Ondaatje Theatre and the new look Big Band impressed from the off. The Soul Band were also particularly impressive, featuring three separate vocal soloists, and the saxophones ensemble provided a moment of laid back calm with intricate harmonies in a piece arranged by Simon.

The evening helped to raise over £300 for Macmillan Cancer Support and we are indebted to Simon for the fantastic work he achieved with the group; a real inspiration.

Simon has since been in touch to say, “You've definitely got a great bunch of students there... I've never heard a school soul band so polished before. In fact the big band sounded pretty huge too.”

Some quotes from those at the concert

“I thought that last night was super... really enjoyed it as did those sitting around me.”

“I just wanted to say how much we really enjoyed last night! I couldn't think of a more enjoyable way to spend the evening. The music was fantastic.”

“What a great night it was... was fizzing for hours after and totally inspired.”

“Simon was really good and it was also great to hear your new music and great sounds from Big Band. Very refreshing.”

Lunchtime Concert 10th October 2014

Lunchtime concert, 10th Oct 2014The first of this years' Lunchtime Concerts was enjoyed by over 50 students and staff in the Music Department. A varied programme of classical, jazz and musical theatre in the relaxed setting of the Music Foyer provided the perfect antidote to the busy schedule as we head towards half term. We were treated to works by Beethoven, Debussy, Frank, Scarlatti, Niehaus, Rodgers and Hammerstein and many more.

The following pupils all played with exceptional skill and musicality, fully deserving the enthusiastic applause they received.

Sarika Clemmow, Millie Parr, Emma Nelson, Denise Lam, Natalie Cotton, Ella Davenport, Max Berry, Chris Hamilton, Jack Armstrong-Williams, Callum Graham, Sparkle Menzies, Freddie Carew and members of the Flute Choir.

Trip to Neil Cowley Trio, Bristol 1st October 2014

Ten Sixth Form members of the Big Band travelled up to Bristol with Dr Leaman and Miss Hosking to see the Neil Cowley Trio at the Colston Hall. They were treated to a jazz playing of exceptional emotion, feeling and passion, with Neil himself almost collapsing at the end of the encore from the sheer physical effort. Blending jazz, rock and classical forms and styles, the group are fast on their way to becoming one of Britain’s finest jazz acts. Indeed, 3 nights after the Bristol concert, the band performed at the Barbican to a full house.