Other Half Music

  • Where: Music Department, A214
  • When: Tuesday, 12.15 – 12.45pm
  • Who: Senior singers
  • i/c: JAC

This close harmony group exists for keen senior singers to develop their choral, sight-singing and solo skills, prior to applying for Choral Awards to Oxford and Cambridge Universities, in particular. Throughout the year we sing at a number of concerts and high-profile events within the School as well as in the local community. The music performed ranges from home-grown arrangements of well-known and well-loved ‘pop/rock/easy listening’ songs through professional King’s Singers’ arrangements to intimate church music settings.

  • Where: Music School
  • When: Monday, 4.05 – 4.35pm
  • Who: 2nd Year
  • i/c: JGHP

The Abingdon Drum circle has been created for anyone with an interest in learning how to play in an African djembe ensemble. As well as learning basic drumming techniques and patterns, there is much opportunity to develop improvisation skills.

  • Where: Ingham Room
  • When: Rehearses Monday, 4.05 – 4.35 pm
  • Who: It is for more experienced jazz musicians (saxophones, trumpets, trombones and rhythm section) and numbers about 30
  • i/c: Mr S Currie / Mr A Townsend

Ever popular, Big Band performs at the Christmas Concerts, the School’s Bands Concert and its own Big Band Jazz Concert. Regular tours abroad include a highly successful visit to Tuscany and a tour to the USA playing in Boston, New York City and Washington DC. Big Band has also made two CDs. 

Watch Big Band in action, here.

  • Where: Ingham Room
  • When: Wednesday, 12.30pm - 1pm (Junior Blues), 2.30pm – 3pm (Senior Blues)
  • Who: All years
  • i/c: Mr P Owen

The Blues Society is now an established opportunity for musicians playing contemporary instruments (guitars, keyboards, horns, drums) to learn to play together, with opportunities for performance. We tend to focus on songs from soul and blues genres; enthusiasm, rather than great skill, is the main requirement.

  • Where: Ingham Room
  • When: Monday, 4.35pm – 5.05pm
  • Who: Open to all brass players of Grade 5 standard and above
  • i/c: Mr A Townsend, Bandmaster

Performs twice a year at the Autumn/Christmas Concerts and the School’s Bands Concert. Also plays at special assemblies and other services, including every Christmas at the Community Service Tea Party. 

A full range of ensembles, numbering between 30 and 40, are rehearsed weekly by members of the visiting music staff. They include a comprehensive range of ensembles for strings, woodwind and brass, and they meet at different times of the week. Any boys wishing to be involved in this work should ask for further details from the music staff.

String Trios, Quartets and Quintets; Saxophone Quartet; Bassoon Quartet; Flute Choirs; Double Reed Ensemble; Clarinet Ensemble; Wind Quintet; Jazz Ensembles; Brass Quintets; Horn Quartet; Piano Trios; String Quartets; Abingdon Academicals – close harmony and many more miscellaneous ensembles.

The ensembles perform in two special chamber music concerts after a day of ensemble workshops with coaching from distinguished musicians, prior to competing in the Pro Corda Chamber Music Competition, in which Abingdon groups have won places in the finals concerts for many years.

  • Where: Amey Theatre Foyer
  • When: Monday, 4.35 – 5.05pm
  • Who: For advanced string players (Grade 7 minimum)
  • i/c: Mrs M Pringle, Head of Strings

Chamber Orchestra consists of excellent string players who perform on Open Day, Christmas and Summer Orchestral Concerts. This Orchestra supports candidates for their A-level exams and gives concerto opportunities to chosen soloists. Chamber Orchestra regularly takes part in international tours.

Watch the Chamber Orchestra in action, here.

  • Where: Chapel
  • When: Full rehearsals: Mondays, 4.05 – 4.35 pm, Fridays 4.35 – 5.05 pm, Trebles rehearsal: Mondays, 1.15 – 1.45 pm
  • Who: Open to full age range for SATB
  • i/c: JAC / CFC

The Chapel Choir sings for the School Carol, Commemoration and Leavers' services, and makes termly visits to sing Choral Evensong in college chapels and cathedrals in a wide area. Regular tours take place with the most recent being to Spain in July 2014.

  • Where: Music Technology Room, A213
  • When: Wednesday, 2.30 – 3.30 pm
  • Who: Any keen young composers
  • i/c: JGHP

Led by Abingdon Music Teacher and Composer, Dr Jason Preece, this is a session for budding composers – or anyone interested in the craft of composition – to expand their composing experience and learn about the mechanics of how music works. The sessions will include some ‘taught’ elements where composers’ techniques are introduced and some more improvisatory and exploratory sessions in which boys will learn about the essentials of different vocal, instrumental and choral forces and how to write for them.

  • Where: Amey Theatre Stage
  • When: Thursday, 3.50 – 5.05 pm
  • Who: It numbers about 80 boys across the full age range, and is generally for Grade 6 pupils and above, by invitation/audition
  • i/c: MAS / CFC / Mr N Somerville / Mr P Augar

Plays at both Autumn/Christmas Concerts and the Summer Orchestral Concert.

First Orchestra is one of the music department’s flagship ensembles. It has achieved a considerable reputation in recent years for producing quality performances of mainstream symphonic repertoire. Its success can be accounted for by the now well-established tradition of proactive recruitment across the full range of orchestral instruments among the younger boys (including French horn, bassoon and double bass) and offering instrumental tuition from a particularly distinguished team of some 35 instrumental teachers. The Orchestra plays autumn, summer and Christmas concerts and at prestigious venues at home and abroad including Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre. The Orchestra tours frequently, most recently to Europe, the USA and the Far East where over 100 boys took part. Planning is underway for the next full tour to Japan.

  • When: Wednesday P8
  • Who: 4th Year and above
  • i/c: Student-led

Open to film, tv and video-game music enthusiasts alike; avid movie fans are also welcome. We will be discussing the power and importance of music in modern media, and eventually, we will be writing and setting our own music to video extracts using music notation and technology, or even performing our compositions live. The first few sessions will focus more on introducing these concepts, and having some fun while learning about different composers and soundtracks (quizzes!), but gradually we will look in more depth at case studies that can inspire us in our own work.

  • Where: Amey Theatre Foyer
  • When: Friday 4.00 - 4.30 pm
  • Who: All welcome
  • i/c: BJP, HJW

Gospel Choir embraces a more popular style of choral singing which is both accessible and life-affirming. You don't need to be able to read music to join this choir as you will be taught the music by rote. There will be some traditional Gospel songs and arrangements of popular songs in a Gospel style!

  • Where: Amey Theatre Foyer
  • When: Monday 5.05 – 6.05 pm
  • Who: Senior Singers
  • i/c: JAC / CFC

This select group of advanced singers from Abingdon and St Helen’s exists to explore the most challenging and rewarding pieces in the Choral repertoire. This mixed voice ensemble allows nine Abindonian Tenors and Basses to experience singing alongside nine female Altos and Sopranos from St Helen & St Katherine’s. It performs at concerts for both schools and serves as an important platform for potential Oxbridge choral scholarship candidates.

  • Where: Abingdon School
  • When: Altos, tenors, basses rehearse on Tuesdays 4.05 – 5.05 pm, with girls from St Helen’s
  • Who: Open to all boys, compulsory for GCSE / A-level musicians
  • i/c: MAS / JAC 

Open to all boys and compulsory for GCSE/A-level musicians.

  • Where: Amey Theatre Foyer
  • When: Monday, P5
  • Who: All Lower School strings
  • i/c: Mrs Mariette Pringle

Performs during the year but especially for Lower School Gala Concert.

For all string players from beginner to about Grade 5 standard. The atmosphere is relaxed and the ensemble progress significantly.

  • Where: Ingham Room
  • When: Friday lunch time, 12.20 – 1.00 pm
  • Who: Open to all wind / brass players in Lower School
  • i/c: Mr N Somerville / MAS

This performs twice a year, normally in the New Year and at the Bands Concert in the summer.

  • Where: Music Technology Room (off Classroom, A214)
  • When: Wednesdays, 3.00 – 5.00pm
  • Who: Selected Upper School pupils
  • i/c: Alex Hehir

This activity enables a small group of selected students to learn about studio techniques and the history of audio recording, under the guidance of Music Technologist Alex Hehir. The pupils from Upper School will follow the A level course offered by Edexcel, although it is not envisaged that this will lead to the qualification. It is also possible to study Music Technology through individual lessons; enquiries to Music office.

  • Where: Ingham Room
  • When: Friday, 4.05 – 4.35pm
  • Who: For all woodwind, brass and string players from about Grade 3 to Grade 6 standard
  • i/c: MAS / CFC

Plays at Christmas or New Year Concerts and in the Summer Orchestral Concert. A Lower School Orchestra is formed after the Summer Orchestral Concert and performs at the Lower School Gala Concert at the end of term.

  • Where: Ingham Room
  • When: Friday, 4.35 – 5.05 pm
  • Who: For all wind and brass players of Grade 5 standard and above
  • i/c: Mr A Townsend, Bandmaster

Performs twice a year at the Autumn/Christmas Concerts and the School Bands Concert. Regularly takes part in international tours.