4th March 2019

DAOS String Chamber Groups at the South East Schools Chamber Music Festival

Congratulations to the Y13 String Quintet and the Y11 and Y10/9 String Quartets for their superb performing on Friday 1st March at the South East Schools Chamber Music Festival! Each group received thought-provoking and high-level tuition from Richard Ireland (Professor at the Royal Academy of Music and Musical Director of Chamber Studio at Kings Place), who was clearly pleased and impressed, both with the groups’ performance and with their responses to the coaching.

We also had the opportunity to hear groups from St Albans High School and North London Collegiate School.

DAOS Concert Band and DAOS Senior Strings at the Regional Festival of Music for Youth

“From the very first note we knew this band meant business!” was part of the feedback of the Music for Youth Music Mentor about the DAOS Concert Band’s performance at Watford School of Music on Sunday 3rd March. He also praised them for the exuberance and the all-round high quality of their performance of Alfred Reed’s “Curtain’s Up!”. This was a wonderful performance, much enjoyed by the whole audience.  Congratulations to all the performers, and thank-you to their Director, Mr Lance Kelly for his work with the ensemble.

“A masterclass in string orchestra playing!” was how the Senior String’s performance of ‘The Frontier’ by the contemporary composer, David Heath, was described by the MFY Music Mentor.  She praised, among other things, the quality of the playing of all players, from the front to the backs of all the sections.  The audience was thrilled by their electrifying performance of this rather extraordinary piece!  Congratulations to all the players and thank-you to their Director, Mr James Widden for all his work with the ensemble.

The Regional Festival of Music for Youth is the largest youth music festival in the World and there are currently over 50,000 young musicians taking part in it nationwide, coming together to perform  and listen to each other in regional centres throughout March.  In our concert we also heard wind groups from Watford School of Music, a Big Band from Broxbourne School and the Chamber Choir from Hemel Hempstead School.

A Soul Band Spectacular!

The Main Hall was packed full with parents, friends, staff and students last Thursday night, all ready to get their groove on in support of our spectacular Soul Bands.

There was no disappointment in sight, as the Junior and Senior Soul Band both wowed with their awesome energy, tight ensemble sound and genuinely up-front dance moves!

It was a great evening of classic soul, funk, pop and jazz tunes, with some current hits thrown into the mix as well. Artists featured included Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Alicia Keys, Fontella Bass, Etta James, Cory Wong, Adele, Jocelyn Brown and Marvin Gaye.

Alongside the fabulous sound of brass, wind and rhythm sections of the Junior and Senior Soul Bands, there were fantastic vocalist line-ups in both groups and some stunning solo spotlight moments.

Our congratulations to the hugely talented members of Junior and Senior Soul Band, to Mr Skelly for his brilliant arrangements and support of both groups, to Ms McNally for her vocal coaching and to Mr Hulme and Mr Grimstead for being such fantastic musical directors and pulling it all together!

Thanks also to the Tech Crew for all their help, to the OSA for providing refreshments and to Music Dept staff for their help in supporting the event.

Old Owenian Emma Everitt-Story returns to launch her first book!

We were thrilled to be able to host a visit from Emma Story, a student here from 1999-2006, who came to talk about her first book which has just been published.

Emma had the Year 7 English classes spellbound as she told them about her time at Owen’s, and how she eventually became a published author. Like most authors Emma had to put up with rejections from publishers, but she showed great resilience and kept going. Her first book Samantha Drury’s Secret Diary: Out of the Wormhole into the Snakepit is the story of an eleven year old girl who has difficulty fitting in with everyone else at her new school. The story is not autobiographical but sharp eyed readers might recognise a few bits of Owen’s. There are lots of really funny events in the book, and Emma read a hilarious chapter about a practical joke on a school trip, which had the audience laughing out loud.