It has been a very busy winter for the Music Department at Ffynone House. Our talented musicians have enjoyed success in their ABRSM exams, have represented the school in the city’s Abertawe Music Festival, have joined with traditional Chinese musicians to celebrate the New Year festival in the Waterfront Museum and have participated in a number of workshops with professional practitioners.
Abertawe Music Festival
Our Music teacher, Mrs Ramos, encourages as many of our students as possible to participate in the Abertawe Music Festival which takes place in February each year. Some of the pupils chose to play in competitive classes; Connor Bott, Helen Throp, Danny Markoff and Sophie Thomas. All were given extremely helpful feedback, sometimes about intonation, posture, or the mood they were trying to evoke and overall gained a very positive experience of performing on a large stage. Particular congratulations should go to Year 8 Sophie Thomas who played extremely well in a competitive Wind, Grade3 & 4 class, securing a Gold Medal.
Many Ffynone pupils chose to perform in non-competitive classes where they could play without feeling any pressure but have wonderful constructive comments from the amazing adjudicators. Maria Pollard, Milind Patel, Serena Banner, Elliot Capper, Kayla Nemeth, Keshvaa Baskaran, Tom Crook-Taylor, Talaith Caley-Davies, Kaitlin Law and even Madame Robert, on her saxophone, all gained valuable help. Their confidence and passion for their playing has increased significantly due to this formal performance experience and feedback.
Chinese New Year
Mrs Ramos herself joined some of our string players; Rowan Challenger-Williams, Connor Bott, Danny Markoff, Kayla Nemeth and Helen Throp for an exciting performance at Swansea’s Waterfront Museum. As part of the City’s Chinese New Year celebrations, these students were invited to play with some traditional Chinese musicians as part of the opening festivities. They wore Chinese dress and were able to rehearse, just twice, at school with the professionals before the event. Our musicians were thrilled to be able to turn their talents to a more unfamiliar style of music and to be part of such a prestigious event. The Chinese musicians were impressed with how quickly they adapted and their enthusiasm to learn about the different instruments used in the piece.
As part of the Abertawe Festival, there was a superb ‘BBC String Workshop’ in the Brangwyn. Our string pupils; Connor Bott, Danny Markoff, Kayla Nemeth, Elliot Capper, Keshvaa Baskaran and Helen Throp enjoyed learning two pieces; Cool Camal and The Can–Can in the space of two hours. They then gave a performance to all the parents, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Nick Whiting, deputy leader of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales was the conductor and the pupils were assisted by various members of the orchestra too.
We are now looking forward to the Abertawe Festival Composition Workshop with Pam Wedgwood on Saturday 17th March. Having been totally oversubscribed, five fortunate pupils from Ffynone have managed to be accepted; Connor Bott, Maria Pollard, Morgan Byatt, Holly Cuttiford and Rowan Challenger Williams. They are very much looking foward to this opportunity to work with a professional composer.