Beyond the Classroom
Most of our music-making is enjoyed outside of classroom lessons. There are two large-scale school concerts per year in the Christmas and Summer terms, two inter-patrol music competitions (for singers and instrumentalists), alongside regular Informal Concerts and recitals featuring the pupils of our peripatetic staff.
We run two orchestras, three choirs, a Big Band and many other chamber ensembles which change from year to year to cater for the needs and talents of the children. These usually include ensembles for our string, brass and wind players, along with our percussionists and rock bands.
Our flagship ensemble is the Chapel Choir, an auditioned group of around 50 children drawn from Years 5-8. The choir regularly leads the worship at the weekly chapel service, and at the school’s Christmas services at Boxgrove Priory. The group enjoys a foreign tour every 1-2 years. Previous destinations include:
- Belgium - singing at Brussels, Bruges and Ypres Cathedrals as well at the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate.
- Paris - singing at Notre Dame Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral and the Eglise Madeleine
- Rome - including singing for Mass at St Peter’s Basilica
- Tuscany - including a concert at Pisa Cathedral
- Prague - singing at the prestigious St Nicholas’ Church in Old Town Square and the world-famous Mirror Chapel.
Alongside their school commitments, the choir regularly partners the Shopwyke Singers, an adult chamber choir based at the school, in singing well-known choral works.
Individual Music Lessons
We are proud to have a team of over twenty outstanding peripatetic teachers, a number of whom are professional performers. All orchestral instruments are offered, along with piano, drums, guitar (classical and rock), and singing. We are an exam centre for the Associated Board, entering a large number of candidates each term, and our results are consistently high. Pupils are also entered for Trinity music exams, with the drummers and guitarists following their ‘Rock and Pop’ syllabuses.
Music and Drama
Each year the Music and Drama departments combine to produce two large-scale musicals with pupils from Years 6 and 8. Previous Year 6 productions include Rainmaker, Singin' in the Rain, Bugsy Malone, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Joseph. The Year 8 production is produced in just two weeks, after the Common Entrance exams. Previous productions include Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof, The Secret Garden and Little Shop of Horrors. All productions feature a live professional band. There is usually some musical involvement in the productions produced by the Junior Department too. For more information on the various drama productions throughout the year, see the Drama page.
I have been Director of Music at Westbourne House since 1991, having previously enjoyed a freelance career as an organist, and taught at both prep and senior school level. Our ‘music for all’ approach is born out of my belief that every child has musical potential, and it is our aim to provide the stimulus upon which the children can foster a love of music that will last a lifetime.