Choral Day, Orchestra Day, Various joint academic projects
Each year Newcastle School for Boys hosts two events to encourage music-making on a large scale. The purpose of our Choral and Orchestral days is to get around 100 pupils together to rehearse a set of pieces in one day, in preparation for a concert in the afternoon. Although Westfield School have been our principle partner over the past several years, we have also worked with other local schools from both the maintained and independent sectors.
These collaborative projects give pupils the opportunity to work with musicians with a wide range of musical abilities and from a variety of backgrounds.
They also provide a unique insight into what it is like to perform as part of a large choir and orchestra. The success of these collaborations is due to the fact that they are single-day workshops and therefore it is easier to get all parties to commit. The fact that there is a concert planned at the end of the day also gives the event a clear objective and end point which gives the day real purpose from the pupil perspective.
The project benefits pupils at Newcastle School for Boys, Westfield School and any other school we invite.
The project was established by John Hopkinson and Agi Gilbert, Music teachers at Newcastle School for Boys. The teachers saw a great opportunity to build links with other schools and in doing so giving students the opportunity to perform in a large ensemble which they wouldn’t normally experience. It has now been established for 7 years.
Most of the students have their own instruments so the essential resource provided by the school is the sheet music. Many rooms at the Senior School are used on the day. There is usually a combination of staff from all schools involved, our respective peripatetic teacher teams and an external leader for the day. The day will usually cost NSB between £400 - £1000 depending on the number of non-teaching staff we pay to come in and help. Occasionally, other schools contribute. The school also provides all guests with lunch.
The collaboration helps to enrich students’ musical experience and that in itself is the benefit of the exercise.
There are usually about 100 pupils involved from between two to five schools in the area. The age range is usually from Year 5 to 13 for Orchestra Day and Year 3 to 13 for Choral Day. Aged 7to– 18. There is a mixed gender at these events.
Both Orchestra and Choral days are usually annual events. Hopefully, they will continue for the foreseeable future.