Summer orchestra workshop

An afternoon of amazing music making at Bristol University


On Tuesday 12th June, 22 members of the Henleaze Junior School Orchestra went to The Anson Rooms at Bristol University to join with other primary school pupils in an afternoon of music making.

There were about 180 children altogether from half a dozen Bristol schools. The orchestra was conducted by Mr Dixon, from St Mary Redcliffe and Temple Secondary School, and there were plenty of musical helpers on hand, including Bristol Plays Music's instrumental teachers and students from the university who have just completed their training to be music teachers.

They played three pieces - two of which our children had not practised together before the day. They had taken the music home to look at before the half term holiday, and had an opportunity during the course of the afternoon to work in small sectional groups to iron out the tricky bits.

At the end of the afternoon, families and friends came along for a concert performance. As the audience arrived, Kirsten Cunningham led the children singing some simple rounds which she had taught during the afternoon, and a song which our Year 5 children had learnt and performed last week at The Colston Hall. Then they gave a rousing perfomance of a Star Wars medley, followed by the song How Far I'll Go, from Moana. For this one, several of our children joined the small choir, which faced the daunting task of making themselves heard above the sound of more than 150 instrumentalists! Finally, they played an extract from Finlandia by Jean Sibelius. This was beautifully played, full of expression and power. We were particularly impressed by James's playing of the timpani - the big tuned kettle drums - which he learnt to play during the course of the afternoon.

For more photos and details of the school orchestra, visit the Orchestra page.