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On Thursday 19th January, we welcomed a wonderful group of Year 4, 5 and 6 girls from a range of Prep and Primary Schools for our first Orchestral Day, Sounds of the Cinema. This was the first time many of the girls had played in an orchestra, and the day presented everyone with a range of new experiences from working alongside other musicians to following a conductor, and even learning a few new notes and instrumental techniques! The girls worked on two pieces of music from popular films: Harry Potter Medley from the Harry Potter films; and Let it Go from Frozen.

‘Music can sometimes feel like a solitary pursuit, particularly as a young beginner or in the early stages of learning an instrument, so it gave us great delight to be able to bring young musicians together to make new friends, and to also experience the magic of playing in a larger ensemble,’ said Mrs Loveridge, who co-ordinated the day for the young musicians.

‘Today’s workshop focused on pieces from popular movies. The girls have worked very hard throughout the day, and I am extremely proud of their efforts. They are well on their way to becoming seasoned orchestral performers, as well as excellent musicians.’

The morning session saw the girls split into sectional rehearsals, with the strings being conducted by Mrs Loveridge, Head of Strings at St Mary’s; the woodwind and brass players being led by Miss Arthur, Director of Music; and the percussion players being led by Mr Allard, peripatetic percussion tutor. This was followed by a morning break, where the visiting girls were given a tour of the School House boarding house by members of the LIV Form and enjoyed a much-needed snack and a pat of Daisy the dog.

The girls went back into sectionals until lunch, where they were joined by senior music students from St Mary’s who were more than happy to answer any questions and talk about their music experiences.

After lunch, and some fresh air playing in the beautiful Lime Kiln Garden, the orchestra rehearsed together for the first time with everyone coming together in Chapel. It was wonderful to hear the results of everyone's hard work in the morning sectionals, and with some support and guidance from senior St Marys Music Mentors, the Orchestra soon got both pieces sounding wonderful.

All the visiting girls did a wonderful job of learning to follow the conductor, listen to the other parts around them, wait and watch for their entries, and add dynamics to make the music sound as exciting as in the films themselves. With a few 'fascinating film facts' thrown in for good measure, before we knew it, our rehearsal time had come to an end and we knew we were ready for a great concert.

Then it was time for the performance! Once parents had arrived and were seated, we were treated to performances from current St Mary’s girls – Allison and Eleanor (violin), Felicity (cello), Mia (drums) and Letty (violin) – who showed the visiting students and parents the wide range of music on offer at St Mary’s.

Then came the time for the girls to perform the two pieces they had been working on throughout the day! After a fantastic rendition of Let it Go, everyone donned Hogwarts robes, hats and wands to get ready for the Harry Potter Medley.

All the girls performed brilliantly, and the audience gave a large round of applause to bring the performance to a close. The girls, their families and St Mary’s staff then enjoyed refreshments together and talked about the wonderful day.

Thank you to our Music Mentors - Allison, Bianca, Ellie, Letty, Flora, Norah, Thea (all violin), Chamaine (flute), Haylie, Felicity and Mia (cello), Florence (trumpet) and Isabella (viola/percussion) - for helping our young visiting musicians.