Some of our Year 5 and Year 6 girls were invited to attend the annual Prep Schools Orchestral Day at Downe House, Thatcham to experience playing as part of a huge 170 strong orchestra.
They sight-read all three pieces, one of which was a world premiere composed by one of the Downe House staff, culminating in a lovely space-themed concert. The Downe House music staff took sectionals, where each group of instruments worked on their own to focus on the pieces before re-joining the orchestra for a full rehearsal. Masha even managed to have a go at conducting the entire orchestra, using a proper conductor’s baton under the guidance of Dr Exon, the Director of Music at Downe House!
They performed an arrangement of the opening of Richard Strauss’ famous “Also Sprach Zarathrustra” (otherwise known as the theme from 2001: Space Odyssey) and Holst’s Jupiter theme (I Vow to Thee My Country which the girls know from hymn practice!), and ended with the premiere of “Aurora’s Foxtrot”. The orchestra also split into a String Orchestra and a Concert Band, to perform their own pieces.
I hope the girls enjoyed this special orchestral experience, and have taken away some fantastic musical memories as well as developing their general musicianship and sight-reading skills.