Music plays a significant role in the daily life of a large proportion of pupils at Gresham’s Senior School, whether it is at the daily services in the beautiful 1920’s Grade II listed memorial Chapel, in GCSE, A level or IB academic music studies or in the form of the many instrumental and vocal ensembles and individual lessons run by a team of dedicated music staff and peripatetic teachers.
The Music School which is currently housed in a dedicated building near the Auden Theatre boasts an impressive list of old boys, the most famous of whom is Benjamin Britten who attended Gresham’s from 1928-1930, during which time he wrote some of his music. Other musical Old Greshamians include Ronan Collett (baritone), Humphrey Berney (Blake), Gavin Horsley (ROH), George Stiles (West End composer) and more recently Tom Appleton who is a member of the renowned Monteverdi Choir. Several pupils have sung with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and Laudibus and Rudolphus Choirs.
To cater for our A level Music Technology students the department is now equipped with a suite of Apple Mac computers with state-of-the-art sequencing and notation software, linked to the most up-to-date digital mixing desk in the Recording Studio.
A regular slot in the music time-table is the popular Music & Munch, which takes place every Thursday in the Britten Building. Members of the public are invited to come along and enjoy a sandwich lunch and listen to the pupils perform. This intimate venue provides invaluable performing experience for Gresham’s musicians and a chance for them to showcase their talents. Another event on the musical calendar which gets parents racing to the box office is the annual House Music Competition which brings out a fierce competitive nature in every pupil as they strive to win the coveted prizes!
Every Lent Term the department, invites the general public to form a ‘choral society’. Anyone who can sing and follow a score is welcome to come along. Weekly rehearsals in the Britten Building on a Thursday culminate in a performance which showcases soloists from the school and gives our musicians the opportunity to play in the orchestra.
Gresham’s became an All-Steinway School on 27th November, 2012. All-Steinway Schools demonstrate a commitment to excellence by providing students and faculties with the best equipment possible for the study of music.
The peripatetic teaching staff at Gresham’s are all of the highest calibre, many of them regularly performing in professional orchestras and ensembles or touring throughout the region and beyond. Lessons, which are usually arranged on a weekly basis, are available for the following instruments:
- Electric guitar
- Classical guitar
- French horn
Theory, aural and composition classes will be arranged for those who would like them.
Twenty-five percent of Gresham’s students sing in one of five choirs:
- Year 9 Girl’s Choir – the perfect introduction to choral singing at the Senior School
- Chapel Choir (90 members)
- Crickets – 8 hand-picked senior singers
- Schola Cantorum – 22 senior singers
- Chamber Choir – younger singers
The school Jazz Bands offer opportunities for vocal input.
The choirs enjoy a busy schedule each term performing in a variety of concerts which take them all over Norfolk and to London as well as staging several concerts in the Chapel and Auden Theatre. The Gresham’s Choral Society concerts give pupils an opportunity to perform solo roles in well-known oratorios and works, such as Handel’s ‘Messiah’, Haydn’s ‘Creation’ and ‘Nelson Mass’ and Mozart’s ‘Requiem’.
The Choir tour gives the participants the experience of travelling abroad and a chance to perform in some of the great European churches and venues, whilst acting as ambassadors for the School. Recent tours have taken the Choir to France, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal and Croatia, some of which have included Jazz Ensembles.
Anyone playing an instrument is spoilt for choice when it comes to playing in a group. The Senior School has the following ensembles:
- Symphony Orchestra
- String Orchestra
- Concert Band
- Brass Ensemble
- Junior and Senior Jazz Bands
- Big Band
- Woodwind Quintet
- Guitar Group
- Various Rock Bands
- Plus opportunities for chamber music
As with the choirs, all instrumental ensembles perform several concerts a term, both in and out of school.
There is considerable cross-over with the renowned Drama Department where many of the School’s best musicians and singers take part in the numerous musicals and plays which are put on every term. See the Auden Theatre page for full details of drama events.
The long-standing Subscription Concerts Series every year brings professional musicians to the School. The Series is on sale to members of the public and students are encouraged to attend. When possible master-classes and workshops are arranged with the visiting musicians. Full details of these concerts and all other events can be found in the Auden Theatre Arts brochure.
Members of the public are welcome to many of the events in the Senior School calendar. See the Auden Theatre brochure or contact Fiona Ross (email@example.com), Music Administrator for further details.