A total of twenty-three ensembles rehearse during each term including a Wind Orchestra and Concert Band, String Ensemble, Sax Group, Percussion Ensemble, two Brass Ensembles, a Clarinet Choir and many 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 as well as professional soloists. Each School provides the conductor in alternate years. Recent performances include Karl Jenkins’ Armed Man – A Mass for Peace, in Vivaldi’s Gloria, Whitacre’s Cloudburst and Walton’s Coronation Te Deum, Fauré’s Requiem, Rutter Gloria, Chilcott’s Canticles of Light and Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music, whilst our orchestra has performed the Spitfire Prelude and Fugue and Shostakovich Cello Concerto.
Our concert performances take place in St Albans Cathedral, the School Hall, and the Library; the latter venues are equipped with superb Steinway Model B grand pianos. The School is honoured to have become an All-Steinway School, ensuring that our piano pupils have the opportunity to rehearse and perform on the finest instruments available. We also perform at various events in the community including churches in the local area.
The School Choir enjoys an excellent musical 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 has undertaken several concert tours. In recent years the Choir has sung in the United Nations Building, and St Peter’s Church, New York, venues in Prague, Cologne Cathedral, in Italy, Spain and Paris. 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.
Click 'play' to hear our Choir in action:
The School’s music embraces a wide range of styles. There is a large amount of popular music taking place at the School, with rock bands meeting and rehearsing throughout the week and our Recording Studio enables pupils 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.
Phase One of the refurbishment of New Hall into a Performing Arts Centre is now complete and the School’s new Music School opened in the Summer Term 2018. Located on the lower ground floor of New Hall, the Music School offers valuable rehearsal space and nine soundproofed practice rooms, along with a recording studio and an additional dedicated music classroom.
We are proud to be part of the Steinway School programme, and the department recently added four magnificent new Steinway pianos, which are now in use along with the School’s existing Steinway pianos.
The School is now aiming to transform the rest of New Hall into a modern Centre for the Performing Arts, comprising a 300 seater multi-use auditorium.