A lively, thriving musical scene
Music is an integral part of life at Eastbourne College. A high proportion of pupils study an instrument and there are numerous opportunities for all to get involved in activities ranging from, for example, the Chapel Choir to the Concert Band, to the Symphony Orchestra to the popular Singer Songwriter Club.
The Music Department is accommodated in the Birley Centre, a purpose-built music facility. The building contains an auditorium with a recently refurbished Steinway concert grand piano, a foyer and exhibition area, fully equipped recording studios, a rock room, and two music technology suites with Apple Mac computers, as well as specialised teaching, rehearsal and practice rooms.
Concerts of various kinds feature regularly in the school diary. There is a strong tradition of house-based music as showcased in the house reviews. The College has an envied tradition of congregational singing which manifests itself in the rousing singing in Chapel services and the popular ‘Congo, a’ weekly hymn practice. House singing and a capella competitions take place each year.
The College’s series of professional concerts provides pupils and members of the local community with the opportunity to experience world-renowned artists in an intimate and informal atmosphere. Recent performers have included the Dominic Alldis Trio, violinist Thomas Gould, singer James Newby accompanied by Joseph Middleton, and the King’s Singers who performed with the Chapel Choir in St Saviour’s Church as part of the College’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Watch the video below:
Further details of forthcoming events may be found in the summer arts programme
Christmas Concert 2017
The end of the Michaelmas term saw the Birley Centre play host to a Christmas concert featuring a mix of ensembles, soloists and styles. The Flute Group entertained during pre-show drinks; the Senior Jazz Band tackled some challenging carol arrangements; the Brass Ensemble, complete with tinsel-clad trombones, performed a carol suite. The final number saw pupils and staff join forces in the Symphony Orchestra to finish with Leroy Anderson’s ubiquitous Sleigh Ride, complete with whip crack and snow showers on the final chord.
Live Lounge, Michaelmas term 2017
Members of the weekly song-writing workshop Tilly Crane, Mimi Helyar, Adam Howard, Liv Jayaraj, Charlie Milner, Elo Quitmann and Max Walker had the chance to front a pupil band playing original songs and classic covers. Music ranged from the Arctic Monkeys and Sampha to Fleetwood Mac, and Simon and Garfunkel. A live recording of the evening was released as an album on Spotify and Apple Music.
Evensong, October 2017
The College Choir sang Evensong in St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, in the heart of the City.
This was part of a series of Celebration 150 events and was part of a programme which usually includes singing in Chichester Cathedral which continues to be a well-established tradition.
In London, the anthem was written by Peter Melville Smith (1943-2016) who taught at the College before moving to Eton as head of piano. It was sung by the College Choir for the first time, having been performed only once at Eton after he died. The hymn, with a text by Paul Wigmore and tune by John Barnard, was commissioned by the College to celebrate the Millennium. It was sung at last year’s Advent carol service.
The Eastbournian Society kindly hosted drinks in the Church after the service for the congregation.
The Music Department welcomed some 70 pupils from Ashdown House, Holmewood House, Saint Ronan’s, Skippers Hill, St Andrew’s Prep and Vinehall for the College’s annual Sing Day!
After a morning of warm-ups, physical and vocal, and some note-bashing, pupils enjoyed a good lunch. Our visitors were joined by the Chapel Choir in the afternoon to rehearse for the grand finale, a performance of Shadowlands from the Lion King, complete with djembes.