|St Albans School Music Department has a wealth of extra-curricular activities for pupils to take part in:|
- School Choir – Singing twice a week in St Albans Cathedral for school services and special services. Our school Carol Service fills the Abbey twice over!
- Chamber Choir – Singing complex pieces ranging from Thomas Tallis to Eric Whitacre.
- Junior Choir - Singing secular works in a popular style.
- School Orchestra – Performing in concerts throughout the year, most recently playing the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor and Finlandia.
- Senior Concert Band – A large group of players performing classical and popular works.
- Jazz Band (Mainstream) – An excellent ensemble playing traditional standards and new works.
- String Ensemble – Opening the annual Prize Giving Ceremony in the Abbey and taking part in several concerts.
- Barbershop Group - The elite senior singers performing at a wide variety of functions.
There are several other ensembles including a Junior Orchestra and Concert Band, String Quartet, Sax Group, Percussion Ensemble, two Brass Ensembles, a Clarinet Choir and more. Smaller chamber ensembles are usually coached by visiting tutors. All of these groups perform regularly in a wide range of concerts, both formal and informal, which are part of the busy musical life of the School.
The Joint Schools’ Choral Society meets each Spring term to perform choral works in the Cathedral. This group combines our own pupils and pupils from St Albans High School for Girls, with many friends and parents of both Schools getting involved. Each School provides the conductor in alternate years. In 2009, the group performed Karl Jenkins’ Armed Man – A Mass for Peace, in 2011 Vivaldi’s Gloria, Whitacre’s Cloudburst and Walton’s Coronation Te Deum and in 2013 Fauré’s Requiem, Rutter Gloria and Chilcott’s Canticles of Light.
In the academic year 2012-13 there were over 30 concerts and performances by pupils, spread throughout the school year, and this is set to rise still further next year. These take place in St Albans Cathedral, the School Hall, and the Library; the latter venues equipped with superb Steinway Model B grand pianos. One of the most notable improvements is the school becoming an All-Steinway School, ensuring that our piano pupils have the opportunity to rehearse and perform on the finest instruments available. The School Orchestra recently performed the 1st movement of Grieg’s Piano Concerto, with Sixth Form student Michael Neale at the piano.
The School Choir enjoys an excellent reputation both in the town and the wider area. The Choir’s primary role is to sing during the school’s morning services in St Albans Abbey (which is situated at the end of the school drive) and at the annual Carol Service and School Commemoration Service, both of which are held in the Abbey. St Albans School Choir has sung in a number of English cathedrals and usually undertakes an annual tour. In recent years the Choir has sung in Barcelona Cathedral (2003); Brussels Cathedral (2005); the United Nations Building, and St Peter’s Church, New York (2006), venues in Prague (2007), Cologne Cathedral (2008), in Italy (2009) and Paris (2012). All choristers are auditioned and a number have been awarded Oxbridge Choral and Organ Scholarships. Choral Scholarships are also available for entry at 11+. The Choir has a broad repertoire, including sacred, secular and arrangements of ‘lighter’ pieces. The Chamber Choir is drawn from the main school choir and its aim is to explore unaccompanied choral music more suited to a smaller ensemble. A professionally produced CD was recorded in St Albans Abbey in May 2010.
Many of the more advanced instrumental players are members of the Joint Schools’ Orchestra. This group forms the basis of the orchestra for the Choral Society concert. They have also undertaken several tours over the past years.
The School’s music embraces a wide range of styles. There is a large amount of popular music taking place at the school with several rock bands meeting and rehearsing throughout the week and our Recording Studio allows these to make the most of their talents, producing their own CDs with our industry standard recording equipment.
Each summer term culminates in a Cabaret sung by members of the Sixth Form, and these have featured Songs from Shows and Hits of the 80s and 90s in recent years.
The School is now aiming to transform the New Hall into a modern Centre for the Performing Arts, comprising a 300 seater multi-use auditorium, rehearsal space and nine soundproofed practice rooms, plus additional dedicate classrooms.