Choral Conducting Masterclass and Concert
On Wednesday 22nd June, Purcell’s choral conducting students, together with the lower school choir and chamber choir, took part in an inspirational masterclass and concert. Arranged by Purcell’s Aural and Choral Conducting teacher Irina Walters and led by guest conductor Robin Page, a well known orchestral and choral conductor, the afternoon’s masterclass prepared our student conductors for an evening’s performance where they not only held the baton but conducted a choir of their peers.
Purcell’s choral conducting class, which started over two years ago, has gone from strength to strength and now numbers 10 students from Years 9-13. The students have spent this academic year working with Irina Walters and Ryan Hepburn on an array of choral repertoire, such as Faure’s Requiem and Spirituals from Tippett’s Child of Our Time, in preparation for this event. Irina Walters explained that ‘Choral conducting is a great skill to have, as it allows the students to see the composition from a different perspective, almost like a manager. It helps with further developing the aural and composition skills, and it is just fun to be able to direct a choir or an ensemble!’. These sentiments were echoed by Robin Page, who said of his time at Purcell ‘It was an excellent idea to give a concert featuring students as conductors. Such an event is the best training possible for young conductors to have in many ways. Furthermore, it was notable that every student gave something extra in the performance – a most impressive quality which these youngsters clearly have engraved in their musical personalities.’
Our thanks to Robin for his kind words and giving his time and expertise so generously.
Of the masterclass and concert, Year 10 student Phoebe reported:
‘On Wednesday afternoon The Purcell School student conductors took part in a wonderful masterclass led by guest conductor Robin Page. Page watched the students conducting two of the school’s choirs, Junior Choir and Chamber Choir. The students have been studying choral conducting this year with Irina Walters. Page gave a two hour masterclass with brilliant in depth advice and tips on areas for improvement in each piece and was extremely encouraging in preparation for the concert that evening. The student conductors learnt so much and really look forward to working with the choirs again. Pieces performed included The Music’s Always There With You by John Rutter, Libertango by Astor Piazzolla and The Rose by Ola Gjeilo which was performed by the Junior and Chamber choir combined for a grand finale. The chamber choir also had the great pleasure in singing Salve Regina composed and conducted by Samuel from Year 12.
Thank you so much to Robin Page for his generosity in taking time to come to Purcell to give this masterclass. Thank you also to Irina Walters for inviting Robin Page to Purcell; to the school choirs for their patience and humour in this exciting afternoon and evening of music with the budding young conductors. Thank you also to Lucia Svecova, pianist, Dr Ryan Hepburn, chamber choir conductor and finally to The Purcell School Director of Music and conductor Paul Hoskins, it was wonderful to hear that by coincidence Hoskins first conducting lesson ever was with Robin Page!’
Sixth Formers Sam and Maddie also disclosed:
‘On the evening of Thursday 23rd June, the renowned conductor Robin Page visited The Purcell School and gave an intuitive masterclass to our student conductors in years 9-13. The items from this masterclass, such as Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, Ola Gjeilo’s The Rose as well as an original composition entitled Salve Regina were then performed in an electrifying concert a mere hour after the masterclass. It was a wonderful evening of music and an amazing opportunity for all involved. Robin‘s feedback combined with the experience conducting a real choir was genuinely inspiring and has cemented a strong love of conducting within all of us.’
Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022
Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2022 took place on Sunday 12th June at London Stadium, with 54,410 fans in attendance. The match ended 4-1, with the World XI team taking the trophy, but it was the half-time entertainment which caught the attention of some eagle eyed members of Purcell’s staff.
UNICEF UK Ambassador, Robbie Williams, delivered a special half time performance of fan-favourite, Angels, and was joined by the Chineke! Junior Orchestra. Year 11 viola player Danya was part of that orchestra, and we were thrilled to see her singing live on ITV.
The event raised an incredible £15,673,728 – the most in Soccer Aid history! All the money raised will help UNICEF’s work around the world, so that children everywhere can have the childhoods they deserve.
The performance can be watched on ITV Hub, and if you would like to make a donation you can do so here.