25th November 2019

Year 13 English students visit Stratford-Upon-Avon!

The weather was “dreich” but the plays were not. The annual year 13 pilgrimage to Shakespeare’s birth place, Stratford Upon Avon, was later than usual owing to the strange scheduling at the RSC but the plays on offer were fascinating.

Friday night’s viewing was The Museum of Baghdad, a modern play exploring the complex issue of where artefacts should be kept: with the discoverer or with the country of origin. On Saturday night we saw a rare performance of King John with the actor Rosie Sheehy making her debut as the lead character. The performance and direction were innovative and gripping -the exploration of the pursuit of power and its consequences felt very relevant in the modern world. We visited places of historic interest and saw the courting stool where the young Will Shakespeare is believed to have wooed his older bride.

An excellent weekend and huge thanks to Mr Simpson for driving the minibus, writing sonnets and tweeting the actors to commend their performances.

Wind Bands and Friends Concert delights audience!

Owen’s musicians continued their concert season with an evening of fabulous performances given by the Concert Band and Second Band, along with the Advanced Saxophone Ensemble, Senior Brass Ensemble and the Trombone Ensemble.

With music spanning nearly 500 years, including traditional tunes, songs from musicals, a 1970s disco hit and a pastiche jazz suite, as well as a World Premiere of a specially commissioned piece, this concert had much to delight all musical tastes.

There were performances that wooed the audience with their beauty of tone, others excited us with the level of their ambition, and others had us toe-tapping and singing along.  The smaller, chamber groups displayed the joy of working in close communication with fellow musicians, while the Second Band and Concert Band were electrifying in the panache of so many musicians working together to deliver committed and exciting performances to their audience.

The Second Band were celebrating 25 years since their formation and, to honour the occasion, their Director, Neil Crossley, had commissioned a brand new piece, written especially for the band by professional composer, Mark White.  The band had also been lucky enough to work directly with the composer himself when he visited school to rehearse with them (as well as to work with GCSE and A-level musicians) in October.  The first half of the concert finished with Visiting Music Teacher, Bernard Bean, who had founded the Second Band, 25 years ago, returning to conduct them in a piece from that very first concert.

The evening was notable for the range of musicians, from those who were taking to the DAOS stage with their instruments for the first time, to those who have been sharing their talents with us for several years now.

All in all it was a wonderful evening of music, and enormously enjoyed by the audience.

The musicians would like to thank the Musical Directors, Bernard Bean, Neil Crossley and Lance Kelly, and the supporting staff, Rebecca McChrystal and Stephen Burke, for all their inspiration and guidance.

We would also like to thank the OSA for providing refreshments, Ms Bamber, the caretakers, the backstage staff and Mrs George (the Music Administrator) for their help in the production of the concert.