On Tuesday 28th January 2020 sixty students from four local West Kent schools came together to experience the first ensemble experience of its kind for secondary schools in Kent.
Hosted in the fantastic modern surroundings of Trinity School (Sevenoaks) and conducted by their own Mrs Pippa Lambourne, the students spent two hours rehearsing under the tutelage of Simon Hendry and Will Roberts of The Skinners School (Tunbridge Wells), culminating in a celebratory concert for friends and family at the end of the day.
Featuring students of a variety of ages and abilities from 11-18 years old, all sections of the orchestra were covered. From double basses to violins, French horns to saxophones and all manner of percussion, the ensemble worked fantastically together and produced a glorious sound, despite only two hours of rehearsal! All the participants made significant progress throughout the afternoon, and the resulting performance was a credit to each and every one of them.
The afternoon centred around three pieces of music from the BBC10 Pieces Collection; Mambo! From Bernstein’s West Side Story, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and the classic Dr. Who theme tune. While these may be some challenging pieces, the hard work and mix of experienced, intermediate and beginner players in the ensemble allowed all participants to learn and enjoy from their experience.
Along with the tutors, the ensemble was supported by several sixth form tutors as mentors. Music staff from each school also took the opportunity to dust off their instruments and get involved, to the delight of all!
The event was spearheaded and coordinated by Kent Music’s local Area Manager Steph Godwin, and supported by the hard work and dedication of all parties involved from The Skinners School (Tunbridge Wells), Radnor House (Sevenoaks), Knole Academy (Sevenoaks) and Trinity School (Sevenoaks). The most important element, however, was of course the excitement, passion and talent of all the young people who participated.
“It was a brilliant experience for our pupils. As a small school with hardly any musicians above Year 9, it was great for them to have the opportunity to experience meeting others and playing in a large ensemble” – participating school’s Head of Music