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Musicians shine ahead of RNCM Spring Concert

Ahead of this year’s Spring Concert, which is taking place at the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) on 21st March, our musicians have been impressing with selections for distinguished bands, outstanding Associated Board Music exam results, a visit to the Royal Albert Hall and award success.

At Stockport Grammar School we provide exceptional musical opportunities for every child and offer a diverse and inclusive programme of activities, through our curriculum and extensive co-curricular programme.

The activities on offer are intended to provide access for all pupils, including total beginners, in all areas of music and also pathways into music careers for those with outstanding ability. The stories below are a selection of our pupils’ outstanding musical achievements.

Foden’s Youth Band selections

Fifth Year Teddy Hotchkies and Fourth Year Daniel Vincent were delighted to have been accepted into Foden’s Youth Band, a band of which Upper Sixth student Niamh Johnson is already a member.

The band was set up to provide opportunities for young brass and percussion players to experience performances alongside world class musicians and all three of the musicians are rightly proud of their achievement.

Teddy, who is in a number of music groups in school including Concert Band, Wind Orchestra and Brass Ensemble, said: “It was nerve-wracking waiting to find out if I was accepted. It is great to be part of the Band and we learn off everyone.”

Daniel, who is in groups including Big Band, First Orchestra and Chorus, added: “The staff at school have been really good and helpful and are always encouraging us and fully behind us.”

Niamh concluded: “I have been part of Foden’s Youth Band for three years and was very happy to be accepted onto it. We play at a range of great venues such as the Royal Northern College of Music.

“My love of music comes from my parents and I have been playing musical instruments since I was seven years old. They, and the school, have really helped me develop.”

Excellent exam results

Over 30 pupils sat their Associated Board Music exams in school and there were a large number of excellent results from grades 1-8.

Particular congratulations go to Lower Sixth student Sarah Callow who achieved an extraordinarily high mark of 141 out of 150 in her Grade 5 singing.

There were also very pleasing distinctions for First Year Anna Stevens (Grade 5 piano), Second Year Euan McIlwraith (Grade 3 oboe) and Third Years Olivia Dow (Grade 5 singing) and JoJo Mills (Grade 1 bassoon). Additionally, Junior School pupils Caitlin Hill (Grade 3 cello), Samuel Hill (Grade 3 violin), Abigail Sullivan (Grade 2 clarinet), Katie Billings (Grade 1 baritone) and William Hadfield (Grade 1 trumpet) deserve immense praise for their hard work too.

Our team of highly qualified and committed visiting musicians provide specialist tuition, within a rotating timetable, to around 200 children each week.

Well done to all who completed their exams in this session.

Joshua makes Royal Albert Hall appearance

Fifth Year pupil Joshua Furtado-Mendes took to the stage at the historic Royal Albert Hall to put questions to Ben Parry and Anne Besford, the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain – of which he is a member – during a showcase.

The budding musician asked questions about concert venues and collaborating with choirs from other countries and was “honoured” to be at the home of the Proms for what he described as an “absolutely fabulous” experience.

Joshua said: “I was nervous at the start of the showcase but everyone was so friendly, it was really interesting and a great experience. I enjoyed exploring the venue and seeing pictures of all of the famous musical artists on the wall.”

Graucob success for George

Fifth Year George Zelhof is celebrating after being named a winner of a Graucob Music Award.

Graucob Music Awards support young musicians of school age with a bursary to further their musical endeavours. George is planning to use his £500 award to purchase an organ for him to practise on at home.

George, who is a fan of composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt, regularly plays at school events and concerts.

Prestigious venue for Spring Concert

This year’s Spring Concert takes place on Thursday 21st March at the Royal Northern College of Music with a start time of 7.30pm.

The show will have a varied programme of choral and instrumental music which will include movements from Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams, Holst and Debussy arr. Kennedy and feature solo performances from accomplished musicians Alex Pollard and Niamh Johnson.