The impact of music on the lives of our children can never be overestimated. At Wrekin we see music as an integral aspect of our pupils’ development and our constant goal is to inspire our musicians and encourage them to constantly aim towards new musical horizons.
We encourage all pupils to be involved in music making, whether informally in class, or in one of our many ensembles. The key to this is ensuring that our musicians perform regularly. Performance opportunities range from large scale formal events such as our summer and Christmas concerts, to our informal Soirées at Six, which in some cases give our musicians their first experience at performing in front of an audience. In addition to this the school is gaining an enviable reputation at both performing in and hosting musical competitions and festivals. These festivals provide a tangible and exciting performance goal, whilst also being excellent preparation for those pupils who have career ambitions within the music industry. This year the school will be hosting and entering pupils in the Rotary Young Musician of the Year competition, the Dr McClure Music Competition, our own Wrekin Young Musician of the Year Competition and for the first time the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year.
The music department, led by our Director of Music, Simon Platford, ably supported by Assistant Director, Jade Harris and a team of 18 visiting peripatetic staff, offers a plethora of Ensembles and Bands. These enable the young musicians at Wrekin to perform not only in many different musical genres but also at a level that challenges, motivates and stimulates them. Whilst we also offer ensembles aimed at our younger Lancaster House pupils, the senior ensembles are open to any age group if the required standard for joining that ensemble has been reached.
Wrekin has long had a tradition of fine singing and this continues to flourish, as any visitor to our annual House Singing competition will gladly verify. Weekly congregational singing practice is often a highlight of the school week and involves every pupil. However, for those who wish to further their vocal talents, opportunities range from our Chapel Choir who rehearse twice a week, to our Community Choir of parents, friends, staff and pupils, who meet to rehearse and perform works from the choral repertoire in the Lent term. Recent performances have included a spectacular English Music entitled ‘Land of Hope and Glory!’ in 2016, Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Haydn’s Creation. A candlelit performance of Mozart’s Requiem is planned for March 2017.
There is also a Lancaster Choir for our first and second form pupils. This provides an excellent vocal grounding for the pupils and gives them many opportunities to perform repertoire that they have a role in choosing. In addition to this is a Lad’s Group which is flourishing and the number of boys receiving singing tuition at Wrekin is constantly expanding.
As you would expect, there are also numerous instrumental ensembles. The College Orchestra, Concert Band and Jazz Band provide our advanced players with opportunities to perform a wide range of music from masterpieces of the classical repertoire right through to Jazz standards and Broadway selections. A string orchestra and a Lancaster training band, both of which have their own programme of concerts and events, support our three senior ensembles. There are also a variety of small chamber groups such as the Brass Group and Saxophone group which are run by specialist peripatetic staff. These focus on honing particular instrumental skills associated with the pupil’s instrument of choice. The number of ensembles however, is never finite. New groups spring up and in fact are actively encouraged, as musicians develop friendships, new musical interests and wish to work together.
Our music calendar provides a huge number of opportunities for our pupils. Master classes with musicians of international repute, performances with other schools, outreach to junior schools and local community groups and performances in concerts and services are an absolutely integral part of the school calendar. There are also fantastic experiences available for those who have an interest in musical theatre. Our production of Grease was a superb celebration of the various arts disciplines collaborating to truly mesmeric effect. There are also regular concert tours taken with the next one planned for Prague in July 2017. This is all in addition to a thriving and exciting music curriculum. This involves the study of a wide range of musical styles from around the world and the use of state of the art music software packages. GCSE and A level programmes are well supported and the school is also a thriving examination centre for the Associated Board and Trinity College Music Exams which are held termly. Pupils are also entered for examinations with other boards including Rock School and the London College of Music.
Finally the department offers music scholarships and exhibitions. Whilst these are offered by audition, the main criteria for obtaining a music scholarship are commitment, potential and a desire to want to be involved in what the music department at Wrekin has to offer. The department welcomes correspondence and should you wish to ask us anything relating to music at the school please either email email@example.com or phone us on 01952 265625.
Director of Music
MBE BA(Hons), LTCL,
BSc (Hons) Keele,
Head of Strings
Head of Brass
GRSM, ARCM, CertEd
ARCM organ Scholar
of Corpus Christi
Trombone, lower brass
Piano, clarinet, saxophone
Piano (maternity leave)
MA, GRSM, LGSM,
ARCM, ABSM, RCM
Piano, oboe, singing
BMus (Hons), PGDip
Full details of the curriculum are available in the GCSE and Sixth Form Curriculum guides.