In this issue...
Head Master's Welcome
Summer Exam Results
Food for Life
Geology Challenge Finals
Inter-House Public Speaking
Shakespeare Schools Festival
18 Years of Skern Lodge
CCF Range Day
Tier 4 Hockey Champs
Groundsman of the Year
Trips & Visits
Adventures in Japan
37 Editor: Katy Chantrey Design: Julia Thurling
Print: Gemini Print Cover: CCF Range Day
Wells Cathedral School, Wells, Somerset BA5 2ST Tel: 01749 834200 http://wells.cathedral.school
Community Focus features
National Youth Orchestra
BBC Young Musician Finals
Amsterdam Recorder Days
Last Post Trumpeters
Side by Side Orchestra
Inaugural Organ Recital
Finals for Choralia
Young Musicians' Gala Recital
3 Head Masterâ€™s Welcome
Welcome from the Head Master This edition of In Touch goes to print as we start not only a new calendar year but also a new decade. An appropriate time, therefore, to reflect on what has passed and to look forward to the future with optimism and excitement. So, like the dual-faced Roman god Janus (who gave his name to the month January), Iâ€™m delighted that this latest edition of In Touch serves to not only highlight the endeavours and achievements of Wellensians in the last few months, but which also, I
to nurture young people who are hard-working, passionate and aspirant, but who also remain alert to their responsibilities as members of Wells Cathedral School and as members of society and the world more generally.
hope, gives a clear signal of our commitment to the type of education we believe is important for all current and future pupils here at Wells.
citizens and, particularly as an independent school, to facilitate opportunities which enrich the life of our society more broadly. We seek to demonstrate this commitment in a variety of ways, not least now via the Community Focus indicators alongside appropriate stories here in In Touch, the design for which has been inspired by our historic ties with the traditional endeavours of our neighbours here in rural Somerset.
I began the Epiphany Term 2020 by launching a new Strategic Vision for the School. This is the culmination of a series of discussions, enquiries and debates between colleagues as well as present and past pupils and parents. I will explore what this Vision for our School looks like in more detail in the next edition of In Touch. At its heart is a commitment to provide a first-class all-round education which places academic, musical, sporting and other co-curricular endeavours centre stage. In turn, this education will enable us
I hope that no one can accuse us at Wells of not being outward-looking. In my view, we have an obligation as a school to encourage our pupils to be good global
In Touch Spring 2020
Summer Exam Results Wells pupils celebrated excellent GCSE results in the summer, with the vast majority of subjects assessed against the reformed, more rigorous, GCSE examination grades. Almost half the grades awarded were the top 9-7 grades; very impressively, 18 per cent of pupils achieved a Grade 9 or A*, against a national average of 4.5 per cent, whilst 30 per cent of grades were awarded at Grade 8 or 9. Just under one fifth of pupils achieved at least six or more of the two top grades, a notable improvement on last year, whilst 14 pupils achieved five or more 9s or A* grades, including current pupils Harry Chantrey, Elaina Charalambous, François Clœte, Amber Cooknell, Hector Gummer, Katie Hastilow, Oscar Howe, Max Li, Rose Ormond, June Rippon, Amelia Watson and Lily Webb.
These excellent results are, of course, the culmination of hard work by teachers and, most importantly, by pupils. All our pupils are to be congratulated on their achievement, and it is wonderful to be able to share in their success.” - Alastair Tighe, Head Master
Wells Upper Sixth pupils received a very strong set of A level results in August with over a third of entries awarded the top two grades, well above the national average figure of 25 per cent. Nearly ten per cent of Wells pupils achieved at least three or more A or A* grades, with seven pupils gaining more than two A* grades: congratulations to Maxim Cooper, Rebecca Farthing, Gerard Flotats-Boix, Susanna Mackay, Madeleine Perring, Samuel Pritchard and Catherine Stringer. Maxim is studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol; Rebecca and Gerard are continuing with their ’cello studies at the Royal Academy of Music, where they both hold significant scholarships; Susanna is studying English at Trinity College, Cambridge; Madeleine is continuing with her vocal studies at the Royal College of Music where she also has a scholarship; Catherine will study Neuroscience and French at the University of Manchester; and Samuel is studying Medicine at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Fellow pupil Lily Boyle also has a place to study Medicine on the University of Nottingham’s Lincoln Pathway, whilst specialist pianist Bruce Fang will study Music at Magdalene College, Cambridge. Other pupils have gone on to study a wide range of subjects, from Architecture to History of Art, Geology to Economics. Those of this Wells cohort who specialised in Music during their Sixth Form years successfully juggled academic work with intensive music programmes and long hours of practice. Many were awarded multiple scholarships from internationally-renowned music colleges in the UK and abroad, with several choosing to progress their musicianship at world-famous institutions such as the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Berklee College of Music, the Peabody Institute and the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. In Touch Spring 2020
The annual walk comprises two routes; a shorter 5 mile walk for younger pupils and a longer 10 mile walk for Senior School pupils. It covers a tough climb up the Ebbor Gorge, and provides views from the Mendip Hills across the Somerset Levels - this year they were rather shrouded in mist! The walk is truly a whole School event, with pupils from Year 1 right through to Sixth Form A level pupils taking
part this year. Even Old Wellensians returned to Wells to join in before they headed off to university at the start of October. The youngest participant was Alfie Roberts, a member of the Haversham ‘family’, just two years old, and proudly dressed in bright red wellies and coat for his first attempt at the route. Particular credit goes to Old Wellensian Bruce Fang, tied to Upper Sixth pupil Danni Woodnutt, and Lower Sixth pupils Amelia Lawson tied to June Rippon, who all managed a slippery 10 mile route three legged and are still friends! This wonderful community fundraising event, organised by Deputy Head (Pastoral), Martin Ashton and his team of dedicated volunteers, took place in the centenary year of Save the Children. This year the School raised over £5,000 for some of the charity’s most urgent appeals: for children in the war zones of Yemen and Syria and those affected by the recent cyclones in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
“A huge thank you to everyone for the team effort. Thanks so much to those who prepared the route, road crossed, refreshed, registered, signed route cards, catered and walked. One of the highlights for the walkers was a cup of hot chocolate at Checkpoint 2 thanks to the creativity of Chris Dine and Katie Martin, whilst South Horrington received guests that they were not expecting - map reading will join our co-curricular programme next year… - Martin Ashton, Deputy Head (Pastoral)
In Touch Spring 2020
5 For Starters
In heavy rain and high winds, hardy pupils, staff and their families took part in the annual Save the Children fundraising walk on a blustery Sunday morning during the Advent Term. Kitted out warmly in wellies and raincoats, or in running shorts and trainers, over 300 determined walkers and runners set off bright and early to complete the picturesque but rain-drenched route through the muddy Somerset countryside to raise money for this inspirational international charity.
Hippodrome Lectures Senior Wells Maths pupils enjoyed an inspiring series of lectures at the Bristol Hippodrome at the end of November. There were entertaining presentations from Aoife Hunt on The Shape of Escape, David Acheson on Pi, Pizza and the Electric Guitar, and Ben Sparks on Windmills of Your Mind. Many thanks also to stand up Maths comedian
Wells awarded Bronze Coachmark After 15 months of hard work, Wells has taken a significant step towards establishing itself as a School that embraces and makes the most of performance coaching to develop and improve key areas of teaching and learning. The successful completion of the Coachmark Bronze Award is the first step on a journey to the achievement of the gold standard. It signifies that the School has demonstrated a philosophy and approach that sets high standards and challenges, whilst providing the support to thrive and grow. Key headlines from the report presented to the School include the following Wells strengths: "a strong vision for the next 2-3 years;" "positive experience of coaching through interviews;" and "outstanding quality of training offered to staff."
Matt Parker for hosting.
Sixth Form Climate Change Conference In mid-November, a selection of Wells Sixth Form pupils were invited to attend a Climate Change Conference hosted by Wells Cathedral, and benefited from a morning of speeches, interactive workshops and a plenary session. Bishop Ruth Worsley chaired the event with a diverse range of workshop leaders. Speakers included Robert Varley, Chartered Meteorologist and former Chief Executive of the Met Office; Dr Andy Parsons, a member of Greenpeace who has researched the effects of climate change on polar ecosystems; and Caroline Pomeroy, Director of Climate Stewards.
Magical Translation Congratulations to Upper Sixth pupil Beulah Adeleke, who entered two of the competitions run by the Creative Multiculturalism programme at the University of Oxford over the summer, and was awarded Highly Commended for one and chosen as the winner, with a cash prize, for the other. Bea was highly commended for the Fabulous Translation competition, which involved the creation of a fable in a language of the pupilâ€™s choice, with a typed English prose translation. She won the Magical Translation competition, which involved the creation of a modern day version of Cinderella in a foreign language, again, with a typed English prose translation.
In Touch Spring 2020
7 For Starters
Food for Life Award Congratulations to the fantastic Wells Catering Department, who have recently secured a Food for Life accreditation from the Soil Association. Wells is one of the first schools to obtain this status, which recognises a commitment to serving healthy food. This includes cooking from scratch without undesirable additives, colouring and sweeteners as well as making use of local and seasonal ingredients, including sustainable fish, free range eggs and meat that can be traced back to its farm of origin.
Senior UKMT Maths Challenge 17 Senior Wells pupils have achieved an award in this year’s Senior UKMT Maths Challenge. The Challenge is a 90-minute, multiple-choice competition aimed at pupils across the UK. It encourages mathematical reasoning, precision of thought and fluency in using basic mathematical techniques to solve interesting and exacting problems.
Gold Award: Harry Chantrey, François Cloete, Amber Cooknell and Leo Li, Lower Sixth; William Haskins, Upper Sixth.
Five Wells pupils achieved Gold and were selected for the follow-on Kangaroo papers; six pupils achieved Silver, and six achieved Bronze.
Bronze Award: Newton Hung, Year 11; Justin Chan, Rory Galloway and Timothy Ho, Lower Sixth; Maria Sidorova and Joseph Slattery, Upper Sixth.
Silver Award: Lilian Hopper, Joshua Ng and Joel Sergeant, Year 11; Panagiotis Kurtis and Max Li, Lower Sixth; Nicholas Richards, Upper Sixth.
Modern Foreign Languages Film Nights The Modern Foreign Languages Department has introduced regular film nights at ‘Tudway Cinema’, where foreign films with English subtitles are shown to pupils and staff. The culturally enriching programme has so far featured the celebrated Canadian French-language drama Monsieur Lazhar. In Touch Spring 2020
Sandhurst STEM Careers Fair In late September, 16 Wells pupils attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, STEM Careers Fair. The group took part in a panel discussion with four industry experts, where pupils took the opportunity to ask questions about life in industry, before exploring a variety of stands from industryleading employers. The focus of the event was on STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, with the aim of promoting career paths available in those fields. It was spread over two days, with 52 companies showcasing STEM careers to 2,000 visitors. This year, the Princess Royal also attended the event, experiencing a tour of the stands that the pupils also enjoyed.
Debating Society The newly-established Debating Society provides Wells pupils with the opportunity to develop the skills needed to present an argument constructively and effectively in front of an audience. It helps build many valuable skills including critical thinking, reasoning and teamwork. The skills learned are a valuable addition to any CV, job or university application, and there are opportunities for competition at local and national level.
Wells Hosts Amnesty International Conference In November, Wells hosted Stand Up! a Schools Human Rights Conference, run by Amnesty International for Senior pupils at schools and colleges across the UK. Just under 150 pupils and teachers from Somerset, Bristol and Dorset gathered for the first ever Amnesty Human Rights Conference held at Wells to hear about current Human Rights issues and take part in workshops and direct action. Head Master Alastair Tighe and Amnesty’s South West Speaker, Tom Wilson, welcomed the delegates, followed by the initial Keynote Speech by Peter Radford, a Dorset-based Amnesty Speaker and ex-teacher, who challenged delegates to realise the power they each have to defend the human rights of others in everyday situations, as well as to raise awareness and engage others in challenging injustice. The conference was delighted to hear from Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of British-Iranian, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe currently detained by authorities in Iran. Richard shared the trauma of the past three and a half years for their family and the joy at recently being reunited with his young daughter Gabriella. The delegates then broke off into workshops, led by experts in their fields, to discuss topics such as Modern Slavery, Climate Change, Women’s Rights, LGBTQ Rights and the Refugee Crisis. The Conference closed with a session led by Tom Wilson giving delegates the practical tools and strategies to take their learnings back to their schools and make a difference.
Wessex Water Young People’s Panel Congratulations to Lower Sixth pupil Elaina Charalambous, who is one of 20 pupils within the Wessex Water region to have been selected to take part in this year’s Wessex Water Young People’s Panel, the fourth year that the School has been involved in this business initiative. Elaina attended two board meetings at the Wessex Water headquarters in Bath in September and November, working on a team business initiative which was presented to a senior board of judges at the final meeting.
In Touch Spring 2020
9 For Starters
Longleat Festival of Light 25 Senior School pupils visited the spectacular Longleat Festival of Light before Christmas, as part of the schedule of activities organised for boarding pupils. This year the theme was Myths and Legends, which provided a sensational odyssey of colour and adventure as extraordinary creatures, ancient deities and magnificent scenery were brought to life in glorious technicolour!
CSI Club Chemistry teacher James Davis has introduced an exciting new club for aspiring young forensics and detectives. CSI Club offers pupils the opportunity to learn real-time techniques used by Crime Scene Investigators. Pupils learn a range of techniques, including blood pattern analysis, fingerprinting and fingerprint pattern analysis, footwear and toolmark casting, evidence collection and general crime scene processing techniques for both indoor and outdoor crime scenes. This is proving a fun, challenging and fascinating course for all budding detectives and crime scene investigators. In Touch Spring 2020
Lower School Think Tank Pupils in Years 7 and 8 have enjoyed a new Think Tank programme which launched this academic year. Pupils meet once a short term to stretch their brains and challenge their thinking. During the Michaelmas Term they enjoyed a crane challenge and during Advent Term they were creative with their Literary Villains. They are looking forward to future sessions on Geology, Chemistry and much more.
Oxbridge Development Day In late November, Wells was delighted to co-host the inaugural Oxbridge Development Day alongside Millfield School. This invigorating event saw 80 pupils from local state and independent schools join together to ready themselves for Oxbridge interviews. Pupils were challenged to think laterally, develop their opinions and discuss their ideas through a carousel of four activities. By the end of the day pupils were intellectually exhausted and felt better prepared for their forthcoming interviews. One pupil commented, "The day taught us to think outside the box. The interview practice was challenging and we enjoyed reflecting on each others' skills."
Western Regional Geology Schools Challenge Congratulations to the Wells A level Geology Team who have qualified for the National Final of the Geological Society Schools Challenge, after competing against teams in the Western Region including a combined team from Bishop Wordsworth’s School and South Wiltshire Grammar School, and Cirencester College. The team was led by Upper Sixth pupil Nicholas Richards and included Ellie Ager, Humphrey Boot, Edward Harris, Megan Taylor and Isaac Wiessler. This year’s theme in the Western Regional round was The Solar System and Beyond. The Wells team put together a professional presentation and poster about Cryo Tectonics and Cryovolcanism on Jupiter's moon Europa and gave an excellent performance in the geology quiz round. Feedback included: “[the judges were] blown away by how professional the presentation was” and “It was evident how engaged students are in the subject and their love for learning.” The competition was hosted by Structural Soils, a geology company that tests samples from major construction works such as Hinkley Point and HS2. Pupils were given a tour around their geological testing laboratories as part of the event. The Wells team will now go on to represent the Western Region at the final in March, which will be held at Burlington House, Piccadilly, the headquarters of the Geological Society.
Literary Society The launch of this year’s Literary Society took place on a story evening in midNovember. Senior pupils studying English flocked to the warmth of the Tudway Block to hear talks on the theme of Art and Literature. These ranged from a discussion of Chaucer and Medieval art, to Shakespeare and the Pre-Raphaelites, as well as a presentation on gothic tropes and a talk on dystopian settings within cinema. The evening proved entertaining and informative and pupils greatly appreciated the range of snacks provided by Neil Bowen!
In Touch Spring 2020
Held on the evening of 5th November, with refreshments from the Wells Parents' Association, this communityfocused event was enjoyed by hundreds of spectators. In Touch Spring 2020
Head of Schools Conference 2019 Following last yearâ€™s successful conference, 44 pupils from independent schools across the South West engaged in workshops and activities as part of the Head of Schools Conference hosted in Cedars Hall by Wells in early September. John Wright, a local businessman with a successful history of leading many new businesses, started the conference with an inspirational presentation entitled Spread Your Wings, where he advocated the importance of creative thinking, setting high standards and the need to challenge the status quo. This was followed by a series of informative talks designed to
develop important leadership skills such as visibility, chairing meetings, delegating effectively, and ensuring the well-being of other pupils. Pupils worked on developing their public speaking skills, and discovered more about effective team work through practical challenges and the use of the Belbin profiles. The afternoon provided opportunities to work in groups and create realistic solutions to practical Head of School scenarios and case studies. The day ended with a Question and Answer session where the pupils were able to identify the major challenges of a school leadership position.
New English Study Guides Congratulations to Head of English, Neil Bowen, who has published new books in his Peripeteia Press series:
The Art of Drama Volume 2: Macbeth A critical guide on Macbeth, aimed at GCSE level and beyond, written by Neil Bowen, Neil Jones, Kathrine Mortimore and Michael Meally.
The Art of Drama Volume 4: Jerusalem A critical guide on A-level set text Jerusalem, written by Neil Bowen and Jonathan Peel.
In Touch Spring 2020
The Art of Poetry Volume 19: Songs of Ourselves A revised and expanded Art of Poetry critical guide to IGCSE poems, written by Neil Bowen.
13 For Starters
Inter-House Public Speaking Competition A packed Cedars Hall was entertained by a range of stimulating presentations at the annual Inter-House Public Speaking Competition at the end of November. As a fitting climax to the celebration of St Andrew's Day, 250 pupils were treated to topics including Does Money bring Happiness? and Parents should be kept off social media!
Congratulations to the winners: Best Chairperson: Oscar Howe, Lower Sixth, Cedars House Best Questioner: Laura Jenkins, Lower Sixth, Haversham House Best Speaker: Alexei James-Cudworth, Year 10, De Salis House Best overall House: Haversham House (Speaker: Rose Ormond, Chairperson: Roison Clarke, Questioner: Laura Jenkins, all Lower Sixth)
English in Action
Neil Bowen, Head of English as well as a freelance writer, gave presentations at two GCSE English in Action conferences during the Advent Term. In late November, he gave a lecture exploring effective and ineffective ways of reading and writing about unseen poetry to GCSE students at the University of Warwick, whilst in mid-December, he spent the day chairing the GCSE English in Action conference at London’s Emmanuel Centre.
Neil Bowen, and English teacher, Lara Williams, have recently edited the inaugural edition of Wells Springs, a compilation of creative writing, short stories and poems by Senior Wells pupils. Many thanks to the Wells Parents’ Association for their generous financial funding of the publication, which provides a rich and inspiring celebration of Wells creativity.
In both presentations, Neil sought to dismantle the myth that poems are essentially fiendish puzzles which readers have to solve to extract a single, hidden ‘message’. Other presenters at the conferences included award-winning Welsh poet Owen Sheers and poet, children’s writer and playwright, John Agard. In Touch Spring 2020
For Starters 14
Wells Cathedral School Election The Wells Cathedral School Election, set up and managed by History and Politics teacher Sam Broderick, took place in parallel with the General Election during the last week of the Advent Term.
Pupils and staff placed their votes for candidates representing the Brexit Party, the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. The School election was won by the Liberal Democrats.
EDF Day In mid-January pupils in Year 9 were visited by electricity company EDF, which supplies electricity and power across the UK. Following a talk about power stations from the EDF team, pupils were shown a video about the construction of the new Hinkley Point C reactor at Bridgwater, before being split into small groups to make their own wind turbines, helped with advice from the EDF team and Wells science teachers. Each group was given exactly the same materials and they had fun experimenting with different sizes of propellers and gearboxes. Pupil Nina Kemp-King said, “We tested out the success of our different versions with fans. The highest generated was over 3 volts which was very impressive!” To round off the morning pupils were given a short talk on green energy, the government energy emissions target and information about how much we still rely on fossil fuels. Nina added, “It was a fun and interesting morning and we benefitted a great deal from the talks. Thank you to EDF for coming in to talk to us and to the Science Department for organising the day.”
In Touch Spring 2020
15 Creative Arts
Drawing Masterclass Pupils from Year 10 and the Lower Sixth attended a drawing masterclass with internationally renowned artist Ian Murphy in the Advent Term. Using their own photographs for reference, they were introduced to new techniques and processes, using a diverse range of surface textures and drawing media.
Head of Art, Linzi StockdaleBridson, said, "We all enjoyed two very exciting, informative, inspiring and challenging days and the pupils produced some incredible work."
The Big Draw at Hauser and Wirth In October, Year 10 artists attended the Big Draw event at Hauser and Wirth, Bruton. An informative and interactive talk was given to pupils by the education team on the latest exhibition David Smith: Field Work - the Gallery's debut solo exhibition by the eminent American artist. The exhibition was conceived as four chapters of the artists' work spanning from 1933 to 1964, that demonstrated Smith’s varied visual language and multifaceted creative process. Wells pupils participated in a series of different practical workshops, experiencing a varied range of materials and techniques in response to the exhibition. The Director of Education commented, “The work produced by Wells Cathedral School pupils is always excellent, but the work produced today is the best we have seen at this event for a long time.” In Touch Spring 2020
"I just LOVED every bit of Grease last night..." - Member of Staff
"A WONDERFUL uplifting evening!" - Wells Parent
"Weâ€™ve never before seen anything as joyous and professional." - Wells Parent
In Touch Spring 2020
In the Advent Term over 80 pupils were involved in the dynamic Senior School Production of the popular and high-octane musical Grease, performed at Strode Theatre over five shows in the first week of December. Produced and directed by Damian Todres, with music directed by Paul Denegri and vocals directed by Laurence Whitehead, the show enjoyed a sell-out audience of whooping and dancing fans each night.
Grease proved a huge triumph, with every performance receiving a standing ovation, and providing a vibrant, energetic and inspiring performance of one of the worldâ€™s best-loved shows. Pupils from four local schools enjoyed a free showing of one of the matinĂŠe performances and were blown away!
In Touch Spring 2020
Wells Cathedral Junior School worked in collaboration with four other local Primary Schools and the Education Department of the Wells Festival of Literature to produce a Festival of Shakespeare over two days in the Michaelmas Term. Pupils from Stoberry Park School, Catcott Primary School, Chewton Mendip Primary School and Butleigh Church of England Primary School joined two classes of Year 6 pupils from Wells to perform half-hour abridged versions of six of Shakespeare’s most well loved plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and The Comedy of Errors. Wells once again hosted the Festival, providing resources and all the scripts for the teachers and
directors of each school, and casting and rehearsals began at the beginning of September. During the second and third week of rehearsals each school was visited by a professional theatre practitioner who spent half a day running a workshop to help pupils with their plays. The workshop included working on the themes and the language of the particular play, ideas for directing and staging, as well as helping the pupils with voice projection. The Wells Festival of Literature kindly covered the cost of the workshops. The plays were performed for parents, head teachers and members of the Wells Festival of Literature in Cedars Hall, with excellent feedback received from the performers and staff involved. The rehearsal days and performances were a resounding success and Wells looks forward to further Festivals in the future.
“An amazing, inspirational and rewarding experience.” - a teacher
“Well organised and a fantastic experience for all the children.” - a teacher
In Touch Spring 2020
“Please can we do it again next year!” - a pupil
In October the Junior School took 37 Year 5 and Year 6 pupils on the annual trip to Skern Lodge, for four days of adventure activities in the great outdoors, marking the 18th year that Wells pupils have visited the outdoor centre. Skern is based in a beautiful and inspiring location and Wells pupils have a reputation for demonstrating teamwork, camaraderie and enthusiasm to get stuck in. So pupils were determined to challenge themselves every day and make the most of the fantastic opportunities on offer. Whether diving from the high-ropes, surfing the radical waves or sliding down the death slide at Ewetopia, the pupils and staff had enormous fun. Head of Girls’ Games, Laura Bain, said, “It was truly wonderful to see friendships forged and teamwork demonstrated across age groups. The adventures and memories made have allowed the pupils to gain confidence and feed their sense of risk-taking under safe conditions. The children also discovered and experienced independence and freedom when exploring new skills.”
In Touch Spring 2020
18 Years of visits to Skern Lodge
Parents’ Association Christmas Fair The annual Parents’ Association Christmas Fair took place on 1st December, festively heralding the start of the Christmas countdown at Wells. The Eavis Hall and the John Baxter Foyer were filled with colourful stalls selling Christmas gifts, while parents enjoyed hot chocolate, mulled wine and mince pies provided by the School catering team. Members of the Pre-Prep and Junior School ballet club performed a beautiful rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Snowflakes from The Nutcracker, pupils from across the Junior School sang a range of Christmas songs, and the Wells Senior Brass Quintet played
carols to further enhance the festive atmosphere. The two youngest pupils in the Pre-Prep lit the Christmas tree lights on the Cedars Hall tree, already jubilantly bedecked with handmade Pre-Prep decorations, while the main School Christmas tree on Cedars Lawn was simultaneously illuminated. It was, as always, a lovely occasion and provided a celebratory, musical start to a magical time of year. Many thanks to the Parents’ Association team, volunteers and staff who gave so much time and energy to create such a sparkling event.
In Touch Spring 2020
The Junior School Harvest Festival Service took place in Cedars Hall in the Advent Term, led by newly commissioned School Chaplain, Sarah Curl. All pupils joined in a joyous rendition of We Plough the Fields and Scatter and Pre-Prep pupils sang Wells favourite Big Red Combine Harvester with gusto. There were readings by older pupils and staff, and Sarah Curl gave a short talk to the pupils about giving their best and helping others.
Pupils brought in harvest produce, which was later donated to the Food Bank in Wells.
This yearâ€™s Junior School Christmas Celebration took place in Wells Cathedral over two evenings in the final week of the Advent Term. As usual, this highly anticipated and much-loved celebration demonstrates the dramatic, musical and vocal talents of Junior School
pupils was enjoyed enormously by the packed audience of parents filling the Nave, with a beautiful and poignant rendition of Ella Wheelerâ€™s Show Me the Way rounding off a stunning series of creative performances to end the term.
Mendip League Cross Country At the mid-way point in the season for the Mendip Junior League, Wells Cathedral Junior School sits in overall fourth place in the League standings, with three more races to go. Congratulations to the following pupils for achieving top 50 places in their categories: Lower School Girls: Georgia Atkins, Olivia Bradbury, Amy Capus, Eva Dowden, Belinda Gifford-Guy, Alma Kidd, Lucia Millington, Amelie-Rose Wakeford and Holly Young Lower School Boys: Thomas Bradbury, Benjamin Cowley, William Sharp, Fox White and Josef Zurakawski Upper School Girls: Darcey Burmeister, Madeleine Dunn, Lulu Matthews, Willow Williams and Natasha Willsher Upper School Boys: Timothy Morrell, Charlie Ward and Jamie Webster
In Touch Spring 2020
21 Junior School
In Touch Spring 2020
23 Junior School
The bright and vibrant musical bonanza Sugar Plum featured all the pupils in the Wells Nursery and Pre-Prep classes in this yearâ€™s wonderful Pre-Prep Christmas Show. The play followed the North Pole adventures of the fairy Sugar Plum, Elvin the cheeky elf and a whole cast of entertaining characters, as everybody learned lessons about the true meaning of Christmas. Pupils helped out by designing and making parts of the set, decorating the programmes and they all put their heart and soul into every performance! The children performed to packed audiences of delighted parents, siblings and friends over several shows in Ritchie Hall an ideal way for everyone to celebrate the festive season!
In Touch Spring 2020
24 Outdoor Education
Duke of Edinburgh Over the Exeat weekend in October, 43 Year 10 pupils pitted themselves against the rugged Quantock Hills of West Somerset to attempt their Silver Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition. Despite wind and rain, every group successfully navigated the challenging route over three days to successfully complete this stage of the Award. They are now spending the winter months working towards their physical, skill and voluntary commitments before they embark on their qualifying expedition on the first weekend of the Easter holidays. Special thanks to Helen Gray, Glyn Lancey and Lawrence Plum for giving up their Exeat weekend to run the expedition.
In Touch Spring 2020
Members of the School CCF Army, Navy and Royal Air Force sections as well as the School Drumline once again played a major part in this year’s Wells City Remembrance Sunday commemorations. The Wells cadets and their officers formed a key part of the City's parade, lining the St Cuthbert’s Memorial as prayers were said and wreaths were laid outside the Church and later at the Harry Patch Memorial. Wells Cadet Company Sergeant, Lucy Harris, laid a wreath on behalf of the School, and The Last Post was played by Wells trumpeter Jude Rowland. The cadets and officers, led by the Wells Drumline, then marched alongside veterans and civil dignitaries as the parade wound its way through the streets from St Cuthbert’s Church to the Harry Patch Memorial. In the evening, representatives of the School’s CCF led the School's Evening Service of Remembrance in the Nave of Wells Cathedral, with prayers and readings from Senior pupils and members of the School CCF, beautiful singing from the Chapel Choir, and a moving performance of The Last Post by Matthew Whitehead. The Dean, The Very Revd Dr John Davies DL, gave a sermon. Head Master, Alastair Tighe, read out the names of the Old Wellensians who gave their lives in the two World Wars, and a wreath was laid on behalf of the School by Head Girl, Astrid Rose Edwards and Deputy Head Boy, Nate Leong. In Touch Spring 2020
Gold Air Cadet Leadership Graduation Congratulations to Lower Sixth pupil, Flt Sgt Harry Chantrey of the Wells RAF contingent, who graduated from RAF College Cranwellâ€™s prestigious Gold Air Cadet Leadership Course in July. Harry graduated as part of the winning Flight of ten cadets, following a challenging and rewarding week of physical and leadership training at the College. The 18-hour days in searing heat were tough, rigorous and action-packed, and included timed runs, long hikes, leadership lectures and command tasks in the field, two nights camping in the open away from base, drill, interviews and exacting inspections. Harry was one of only two cadets selected from Somerset, with the 60-strong cohort made up of experienced CCF and ATC cadets from across the UK. Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, Commandant of the Air Cadets, visited the cadets in the field to observe some of the Flightsâ€™ command tasks and was impressed with their commitment and skills.
Summer CCF Camp Wells CCF cadets enjoyed an action-packed week at CCF Camp at the start of the summer holidays, which included Training in Built up Areas, assaulting a building, casualty evacuation, as well as archery, paintball, and range shooting. They spent the week on an Army base and had talks in the evening from different Army networks.
Parachute Wing Training In October, 13 Wells CCF cadets, along with CCF Contingent Commander Stuart Elks, Ken Padgett and Jack Coward, attended the Joint Service Parachute Wing for a day of parachute training. The majority of the cadets managed to fit in their jumps in November.
In Touch Spring 2020
CCF Range Day
In October, members of the Wells CCF enjoyed a day of adventure activities off-timetable for the annual Contingent Range Day. Cadets participated with enthusiasm in a diverse array of physical outdoor activities and tasks organised by the Wells Outdoor Education team, which includes the former Royal Marine and Wells Director of Outdoor Learning, Stuart Elks and School CCF Staff Instructor and Training Officer Glyn Lancey, as well as a passionate team of teachers who lead each sub-contingent. Members of the Army Contingent travelled to Hewish with Mendip Outdoor Pursuits, spending the day on the River Oldbridge canoeing, kayaking and building rafts. They were ably led and encouraged by Christopher Dine and Charlotte Owen. A group of cadets in the Wells RAF took to the skies in Grob Tutor aircraft as part of the RAFâ€™s Air Experience training at MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. Cadets experienced individual flights alongside an RAF pilot in the cockpit of the training aircraft, some manoeuvring take offs and even performing loop the loops in the air. In the afternoon, the RAF cadets enjoyed caving at Goat Church Cavern at Burrington Combe led by Wells RAF Flt Lt Ken Padgett and Cheddar Caving Services. The Royal Navy cadets will spend a day later in the year at the Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club at Cheddar Reservoir, taking part in adventure activities on the reservoir, including sailing, windsurfing and kite surfing. In Touch Spring 2020
In Touch Spring 2020
England Hockey Success Congratulations to Lower Sixth pupil Lily Webb and Upper Sixth pupil Megan Taylor, who both played for their respective agegroup teams at the England Hockey Home Nations tournament held at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire at the end of July. Lily played for the England Under 16 team, while Megan played for the England Under 17 Whites team. Both girls played exceedingly well, winning all of their matches, and finally met in the Finals, which the Under 16 team won. The girlsâ€™ sporting prowess continued through the summer, with Megan representing the regional Wessex Leopards Under 17 team in the Futures Cup at St Albans Hockey Club in August, and Lily playing at an Under 18 trial for England over the first weekend in September at the Lilleshall Centre.
Regional Tier 4 Champions Huge congratulations to our girls' Hockey First XI who triumphed in the Investec Girls Schools Under 18 Tier 4 Regional Finals held at Clifton College where they were crowned regional champions. The team won all eight games in the regional tournament and has qualified for the national round-robin finals to be held at the Olympic Park in Stratford in March.
Under 14 County Hockey Champs Congratulations to the Under 14 girls' Hockey Team, coached by Fiona Robertson, who enjoyed an unbeaten season and were crowned Tier 2 County Champions at the Somerset Hockey Tournament at the end of October, winning all of their keenly-fought matches and making it through to the regional finals.
In Touch Spring 2019
In Touch Spring 2020
Cricket World School Groundsman of the Year Huge congratulations to Wells Head of Grounds Craig Keast, who has been chosen as Cricket World’s School Groundsman of the Year for 2019. Craig attended an award ceremony at Lord’s in September, along with Deputy Head of Grounds Wayne Bradshaw and Director of Sport Tom Webley. Following an award-winners lunch at The Tavern Restaurant at Lord’s cricket ground, Craig was presented with his prestigious trophy. The presentation was attended by Chris Wood, ECB Pitch Advisor, Karl McDermott, MCC Head Groundsman at Lord’s, Alastair Symondson, Cricket World and Scott MacCallum, Turf Matters. Editor of Cricket World and one of the judges of this year’s awards, Alastair Symondson, summarised Craig’s contribution to cricket at Wells:
“Craig has done a truly outstanding job as Head Groundsman at Wells Cathedral School. He is in his 32nd year of service and continues to produce superb cricket wickets.” Craig said, “Our main cricket pitch, Cedars, has 22 cricket strips with the middle 10, which were laid in 1995, built on a stone raft, when the council decided to drive a road through the school playing fields at Mundy’s Meadow. We now host representative cricket on a regular basis, in addition to a packed schedule of School fixtures.” With views of Wells Cathedral, the pitch is widely regarded as one of the finest in Somerset, and recently benefited from the addition of a stunning state-of-theart cricket pavilion.
In Touch Spring 2020
Kevin Hits Top 35 Ranking Congratulations to Year 11 pupil Kevin Luk, who has achieved considerable success in a series of major Badminton tournaments this year, recently winning his first senior tournament, which has resulted in a top 35 Badminton England ranking. Kevin won the Oxfordshire Senior Bronze Badminton Tournament in Abingdon in mid-January, beating both the captain of the University of Warwick’s Badminton Team, and also a member of the Wales National Team to be crowned tournament champion. Earlier in the year he reached the semi-final of the Badminton England Gloucester Senior Bronze tournament at Cheltenham, narrowly losing to a member of the Jamaican National Badminton Team, and reached the final of the Badminton England Milton Keynes Senior Bronze Tournament. He has also won the Yeovil Badminton Club Under 19 Junior Tournament at Westlands Sports and Fitness Club, and the Sherborne Doubles tournament in Dorset.
Badminton Tournament Wells held its first Badminton Tournament in mid-October, involving teams from Ansford, Sexeys Bruton and King Arthur’s Community School in Wincanton. The tournament was split by age group, with an Under 15 and an Over 15 category. Seven Wells players took part in the tournament, with Lower Sixth pupil Simon Chan beating Lower Sixth pupil Dora Wong in the Over 15 Singles category, and then both players won the Over 15 Doubles together!
Badminton Team Progresses to County Stage Congratulations to the Key Stage 4 boys’ Badminton team, who won all of their matches in the local stages of the National Schools Badminton Championship held at St Dunstan’s School in Glastonbury in November, and will now progress to the county stages of the tournament.
Senior School Ski Trip 2019-20 Over the New Year, 50 pupils and five staff enjoyed a successful week skiing at Les Menuires, in the Belleville valley of Les Trois Vallées. The skiing conditions were perfect, with blue skies and well-covered pistes. All ability groups made excellent progress, but particular congratulations must go to the 26 beginners who
made incredible progress and skiied a slalom course by the end of the week! Many thanks to Martin Ashton, Ken Padgett, James Mayes, Harriet Carss and ski trip leader, Linzi Stockdale-Bridson, for their hard work and support in helping make the week such a wonderful, happy experience for everyone.
In Touch Spring 2020
14 Sixth Form pupils spent ten days in Freetown over the October half-term break as part of the School's Sierra Leone Project. Pupils taught Maths, using Sudoku, Maths robots and Countdown; English, using poetry, nursery rhymes and short stories; French by story listening; and Physical Activity, at the JT Reffell French Memorial School, while Music was taught at the Ballanta Academy of Music. Every afternoon, the team gathered for outreach concerts in schools around Freetown, including the Milton Margai School for the Blind, the Cheshire Home for the Disabled and the Don Bosco Orphanage. The trip culminated in a joint concert between pupils from Wells, the Ballanta Academy and the JT Reffell School at the British Council.
Pupils were also encouraged to explore African culture, and this year's trip included a visit to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a two hour hike in the jungle, a musical performance at a church service and also a rare opportunity to relax on the beach one afternoon. Pupils who come on the trip each have to raise a minimum of ÂŁ150 to help finance mini projects that the Sierra Leone Project runs in Freetown. Together with the money raised during the School's Event on the Lawn last March and other fundraising events during the year, Wells has managed to pay for cricket equipment, contributions towards the building of a mini auditorium at the Ballanta Academy, and the building of the foundations of a new block at the JT Reffel School this year. This has enabled a space for a small library to be built as well, which it is dedicating to Wells. The School is also funding the attendance of ten pupils at the Ballanta Academy for the coming year, including a promising self-taught flautist. The trip is a unique experience open to pupils in the Sixth Form and is financed entirely by fundraising events and donations. The School looks forward to your support in the future and thanks everybody for their contributions so far. Look out for future events in support of this school project.
In Touch Spring 2020
Jules Desmarchelier-Arpino, the Sierra Leone Project Manager, said, â€œWells pupils shone and gave their all to everything we did, spending time interacting with other students everywhere we went. They shared their experiences as well as their music, sang, laughed and became more confident and culturally richer as the week went on.â€?
In Touch Spring 2020
World War II Battlefields Trip to Normandy A mixed group of pupils from Years 9, 10 and 11 spent four days over the October half term break experiencing an action-packed tour of World War II battlefields, cemeteries, museums and the Normandy Beaches with experienced and enthusiastic guides Chris Eldridge, Sam Broderick, Glyn Lancey and Lucy Tout. The group retraced the footsteps and visited the graves of Old Wellensians and relatives of people associated with the trip. Pupils visited four of the Normandy beaches: Sword, Gold, Juno and Omaha. They also spent time at the battlefields of VillersBocage and Hill 112, the target of Operation Jupiter, as well as Bourguebus Ridge near Caen, where the Operation Goodwood offensive took place. They visited the Pegasus Bridge Memorial Museum, the Overlord Museum and the D-Day Museum at Arromanches.
In Touch Spring 2020
Adventures in Japan Over the summer, a group of Upper Sixth pupils experienced the trip of a lifetime when they visited Kyoto in Japan as part of a science enrichment opportunity with Charlotte Farmer, Head of Physics and Academic Enrichment. The trip provided pupils with a multitude of experiences that challenged and enriched them. Lab-based workshops were core to the programme and the pupils relished the opportunity to engage with real lab experience. Culturally, the historic sites the pupils visited were fascinating, along with the differences in architecture, food and customs. One pupil said, “The trip was an amazing experience and what struck me was that it wasn't just about science, but learning about a completely different culture, and immersing oneself in a different way of life. The science, of course, was world-class, with Kyoto University professors, doctorate and masters students assisting along with facilitators. Making friends that I will remember for my whole life is definitely a highlight!” Another added, “This trip has provided me with a superb cultural immersion and stretched my mind scientifically and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone looking for an adventure.”
In Touch Spring 2020
Celebrating Christmas with The Salvation Army Year 9 Chorister Sophie Harbridge performed the beautiful and spiritual Pie Jesu to a packed audience of 5,000 at the Royal Albert Hall in the first week of December as part of the annual Christmas Celebration with the Salvation Army. Celebrity guests and Salvation Army musicians kicked off the festive season with a celebration of Christmas music, carol singing and readings. In addition to Sophie’s uplifting performance, the annual festive event saw doyenne of British baking, Mary Berry, and EastEnders actor, Stephen Rahmen-Hughes, give a reading. The Salvation Army International Staff Band and Songsters, directed by Dorothy Nancekievill, former Director of Music at Wells, entertained people with a beautiful Christmas repertoire, and there were also live performances from female classical singing trio Athena, singer-songwriter Claas P. Jambor and the Fanfare Team from the Band of the Household Cavalry. Survivor of modern slavery and human trafficking, Malaika Oringo, also shared her experiences and explained how The Salvation Army had supported her recovery. Sophie said, “I have so many happy memories of this event - from lounging in my very own dressing room to rubbing shoulders (literally) with Mary Berry at the final photo call!”
new music wells 2019 This year, a musically-packed itinerary of concerts at Wells Cathedral involving musicians from Wells Cathedral School contributed to the vibrancy of new music wells’ week-long celebration of music from the last 40 years. Concerts included Chamberworks recitals by the School’s New Music Ensemble, which featured compositions by composer-in residence, Jonathan Dove CBE, as well as pupils’ own works. There were also festival concerts by Pianoworks, Recorderworks and Organworks, all ensembles made up of Wells Specialist Musicians. Later in the week, musicians also benefited from a composition Masterclass in Cedars Hall with Jonathan Dove.
Experiencing Chorister Life In October, Wells Cathedral hosted a fabulous, ‘behind the scenes’ day, during which children were able to experience the life of a Chorister. 35 girls and boys, aged between seven and nine, came from schools across Somerset and beyond for the annual Be a Chorister for a Day event where they met the Cathedral Choristers and participated in singing workshops. The day culminated with Choral Evensong in the Quire of the Cathedral with the award-winning and world-renowned Choir. The children performed the Goodall anthem Love Divine, helped the Choir lead the two hymns in the service, and learnt to process in and out. If you are interested in the 2020 Be a Chorister for a Day event, please contact the Cathedral Music Office via email@example.com.
All choral services during the week featured music from 1979 to 2019 sung by Wells Cathedral Choir. In Touch Spring 2020
The Countess of Wessex Celebrates 25 Years of Girl Choristers In late September, the Countess of Wessex GCVO, in her capacity as Patron of the Wells Cathedral Chorister Trust, visited Wells Cathedral and the School, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the foundation of the Girl Cathedral Choristers. The Countess met the boy and girl Choristers, attended a short musical performance by musicians from the School, listened to a Chorister rehearsal in the Cathedral and took part in the cutting of a celebratory anniversary cake.
She was later joined by her husband, HRH The Earl of Wessex, in the Cathedral at a service of Choral Evensong sung by the Cathedral Choir. The service was also attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, the current High Sheriff, and a large number of other civic guests who all came to hear the Cathedral Choir. Regular worshippers, all Cathedral volunteers and Wells pupils were also invited to attend the service.
In Touch Spring 2020
National Youth Orchestra Congratulations to the following ten Wells musicians on their recent selection for the prestigious National Youth Orchestra for the 2019/20 season: Luke Lane, Year 11, trumpet Imogen Moorsom, Year 11, french horn Isabelle Nettle, Year 11, viola Rebecca Pughe, Year 11, oboe Summer Brooks, Lower Sixth, viola
Tom Mahoney, Lower Sixth, double bass Stan Talman, Lower Sixth, percussion Alfie Creber, Upper Sixth, percussion Ella Leonard, Upper Sixth, oboe Eliza Talman, Upper Sixth, trumpet
Two Moors Festival Concerts Wells musicians were busy juggling work and musical commitments in mid-October, with many taking part in concerts and performances at the renowned Two Moors Festival - an annual arts festival held in venues across Dartmoor and Exmoor. One of the winners of this year’s Young Musician Competition, Upper Sixth oboist, Ella Leonard, took part in the Winners’ Concert at the Priory Church of St George in Dunster, the Wells Saxophone Quartet played in the centre of Exeter, the Wells Brass Quintet performed at Tiverton, and the Wells String Quartet performed in Lorna Doone, a concert of words and music to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first publication of R.D. Blackmore’s famous novel, held at All Saints’ Church in Dulverton. In Touch Spring 2020
Huge congratulations to three current Wells musicians and one Old Wellensian, Meggie Murphy, who have all been selected for the Category Finals of the BBC Young Musician Competition 2020. With four finalists this year, Wells has the highest number of musicians represented from any of the UKâ€™s Specialist Music Schools. Year 11 recorder player Eliza Haskins is one of the last five Woodwind musicians and will compete in the Woodwind Category Final for the second time. Year 11 pianist Bridget Yee and Lower Sixth pianist Sejin Yoon have both reached the Keyboard Category Final, while trombonist Meggie Murphy, currently studying in her first year at the Royal Academy of Music, has reached the Brass Category Final. The Category Finals will be held at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff in March, where musicians will play for a panel of judges and a
live audience. The Final will be filmed for a televised broadcast on BBC4 in May. There will also be coverage on BBC Radio 3. The winner of each Category Final will go through to the Semi-Final to be held in Cardiff, and from the SemiFinal three young musicians will be asked to play in the Grand Final where the winner will be chosen. The Grand Final will be held at Manchesterâ€™s Bridgewater Hall in May 2020. There, the finalists will perform with the BBC Philharmonic, playing a concerto which they have chosen. Congratulations to the five other Wells musicians who reached the second round of the competition: Ruby Cheung, Year 11, Keyboards (piano); Ella Leonard, Upper Sixth, Woodwind (oboe); Max Li, Lower Sixth, Keyboards (piano); Jack Luk, Upper Sixth, Keyboards (piano); and Nellie Whittam, Lower Sixth, Strings (violin).
In Touch Spring 2020
Charlotte Selected for Live Saxophone Final Congratulations to Upper Sixth musician Charlotte Arthur, who was one of only six saxophonists nationally to be chosen for the live final of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain Young Saxophone Soloist Competition. Charlotte was selected by an expert panel following submission of her recording of Jolivet's Fantaisie Impromptu and a new piece by Charlotte Harding specially commissioned for this national competition.
Oboe Masterclass Wells oboists enjoyed an inspiring Masterclass with contemporary music specialist, oboist and composer Melinda Maxwell in November. Melinda was able to offer excellent advice on improvisation and on the practicalities of working with artists in other disciplines. The accompanying image shows Melinda rehearsing the Royal Fireworks Music by Fasch, which was performed in the Schoolâ€™s Woodwind Promenade Concert in Wells Cathedral in late January.
Recorder Masterclasses Specialist recorder players have recently been treated to a day of Masterclasses and consultation lessons given by recorder master Anna Stegmann. Anna lives in Amsterdam but regularly visits the UK to teach at the Royal Academy of Music in London and to give classes
nationally. Pupils presented a variety of contemporary repertoire and Anna's advice on performance was particularly well received. This was closely followed by RecorderWorks, a recital given in Wells Cathedral as part of the new music wells Festival.
In Touch Spring 2020
Tabea Debus Wins Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition Congratulations to Wells recorder teacher, Tabea Debus, the winner of the 2019 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Tabea competed in the live final at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City in October and is one of only four artists worldwide to win a NYC showcase concert, international artist management and worldwide concert opportunities. Wells Recorders go from strength to strength under Tabea's artistic direction.
Open Recorder Days in Amsterdam Over the October half term break, Wells specialist recorder players performed at Open Recorder Days Amsterdam (ORDA). This is a celebrated international festival of recorder playing which features classes for all levels of young performer, recitals and masterclasses. It was an amazing experience for all the Wells musicians, but particularly for Year 11 musician, Eliza Haskins, who came first in her class the first time a UK solo entrant has achieved this success!
Saxophone Masterclass Saxophonist Naomi Sullivan visited Wells in October to give a Masterclass to our specialist saxophone players. Naomi is Head of Saxophone at Birmingham Conservatoire and has an enviable reputation as a performer and teacher. She was also able to spend time coaching the Wells Saxophone Quartet ahead of their recital performance at the Two Moors Festival the following day. In Touch Spring 2020
New Book of Percussion Music Head of Student Experience, Jayne Obradovic and percussion teacher and Principal Timpanist of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Matt Hardy, have recently had a new book of percussion music published by Southern Percussion. The book, Concert and Audition Pieces for The Young Percussionist, features pieces written by Jayne and Matt for Wells pupils over the years which is now used in ABRSM examinations. It follows, 20 years on, from a book of music that Jayne had published for the Trinity Exam Board in 2000 with former colleague Jan Faulker. The vibrant artwork for the book’s cover was created by Year 9 percussionist
and ’cellist, Wilamena Dyer. Jayne said, “Finding new and interesting material for younger students has always been a top priority for us both. All the repertoire has been tried, tested and developed alongside our pupils at Wells and the pieces are completely accessible to be adapted, arranged and explored in any way to suit the age, stage and individual needs of individual pupils.” The book can be ordered at: https://southernpercussion.com/ search?controller=search&s=obradovic
Promenade Concerts Over two evenings in mid-January, Wells musicians performed vibrant Promenade Concerts in the stunning surroundings of Wells Cathedral. Brass and percussion musicians, along with guests from the Woodwind Department, played the extraordinary Royal Fireworks Music by Johann Friedrich Fasch, written for the wedding of Catherine the Great, as well as Elgar Howarth’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s thrilling Great Gate of Kiev from Pictures at an Exhibition. The following evening, Wells woodwind musicians, together with selected guests from across the whole Music Department, presented their programme which featured a second ambitious performance of Fasch's
Royal Fireworks Music written for nine oboes, natural trumpets and bassoons, plus three sets of timpani. In Touch Spring 2020
National Youth Orchestra of Wales Congratulations to Upper Sixth pupil and specialist trumpeter, James Hollingsworth, who was selected as one of only four trumpeters for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales over the summer. James is already a member of the National Youth Wind Band of Wales.
Last Post Trumpeters 17 trumpeters from Wells played The Last Post and Reveille at Remembrance Services at Wells Cathedral
Thanks to Joshua Knott, Year 7; Charlie Ballamy, Year 8; Erin Davies, Grace Davies, Felix Melia and Alexander
and in schools and churches across the region over the Remembrance Weekend and on Remembrance Day. Wells musicians played at services in Castle Cary, Coxley, Doulting, East Pennard, Maiden Bradley, Meare, North Wootton, Rode, Wells, Wookey, Wookey Hole as well as Alderney in the Channel Islands.
Smith, Year 10; Luke Lane, Charlie Spencer, Thomas Stringer and Matthew Whitehead, Year 11; Harry Chantrey, Hector Gummer and Jude Rowland, Lower Sixth; James Hollingsworth, Eliza Talman, Isaac Wiessler and Danni Woodnutt, Upper Sixth.
In Touch Spring 2020
International Film Premiere for Luke In September, Year 9 violinist Luke Doyle attended the celebrated Toronto International Film Festival as a key member of the cast of upcoming Serendipity Point film, The Song of Names which premiered at the Festival. Luke plays the Young Dovidl, played as an adult by Clive Owen. Luke was joined on the red carpet by fellow actor Tim Roth, as well as composer Howard Shore. He was also interviewed about his role in the film for the Canadian media. We are looking forward to enjoying Luke’s debut in what promises to be a stunning and emotive film when it is released in the UK later in the year. In addition to many weeks filming in exotic international locations over the last year, Luke has also juggled significant musical commitments. Over the summer he toured Bangor, St David’s and Cardiff as the youngest member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, and he has recently been re-selected for the NYOW for the forthcoming year. This year, the Orchestra will work for the first time with the New Zealand-born conductor Holly Mathieson, as well as with a first-class team of professional musicians, before going on to perform three concerts across Wales. In addition to performances at the Prichard-Jones Hall in Bangor and a final concert at St David’s Hall, the Orchestra will once again close the Fishguard International Festival of Music at the stunning St David’s Cathedral.
Side By Side Orchestra Day In mid-November, Wells ran a Side by Side Orchestra Day for 40 prep school pupils from King’s Hall School in Taunton, Farleigh Prep School in Andover and St Peter’s Prep School in Exmouth. The young pupils spent the day rehearsing alongside Wells specialist musicians and were joined by musicians from our own Junior School. Paul Denegri and Harvey Brink conducted the orchestral sessions, with brass, strings and woodwind sectionals run by Wells music teachers. At the end of the afternoon, the orchestra performed a concert featuring the score from Mission Impossible to parents and staff in Cedars Hall - a lively end to a highly creative and musical day.
In Touch Spring 2020
Classical Guitar and Viola Day In September young musicians from across the region attended the first combined Classical Guitar and Viola Day at Wells. The sessions included working on technique and playing in ensembles. The musicians particularly enjoyed the joint concert at the end of the day, which included pieces from Wallace and Gromit for the guitarists, and Elgar's Nimrod and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for the violists.
Inaugural Organ Recital In October, two Wells Lower Sixth organists, François Cloete and June Rippon, gave the inaugural recital on the newly-installed Walker Organ in Quilter Hall. The organ was kindly donated to the School some four years ago by Mr Jim Cook, in memory of his brother Richard, who owned the instrument and who was a very keen organist. June and François played a selection of works by Bach, Mendelssohn and Hindemith.
Musical Legacy from Pete Handley The Wells Percussion Department is honoured to have taken possession of a fantastic Roland Electronic drum kit originally belonging to former Wells percussion teacher, Pete Handley. Pete, a much-loved member of the Wells community who introduced the School’s Drumline, tragically passed away in 2014. His family have generously given his drum kit to the School, so that Wells musicians can benefit. Head of Student Experience and Percussion, Jayne Obradovic, said, “We miss Pete enormousl; his passion for music education was infectious and this generous gift is a fitting way to ensure that his musical legacy and commitment to education lives on through Wells percussionists and into the future.” In Touch Spring 2020
Choralia Reach Let the Peoples Sing Finals Congratulations to Choralia, the Wells Upper Voice Girls’ Choir of 30 vocalists, who reached the Grand Finals of the prestigious European Let the Peoples Sing Competition, held in Barcelona in October.
Let the Peoples Sing is organised biennially by the European Broadcasting Union and is the choral equivalent of European Young Musician. Each national broadcaster is asked to nominate choirs, and it was the BBC who entered Choralia to represent the UK, on the back of the Choir’s success in Rome. Choralia’s Musical Director, Christopher Finch, submitted a recording for the Semi-Final, which was chosen for the Grand Final by an international panel of seven adjudicators. Three choirs competed in each of the three sub-categories within the Final: the Children and Youth category, the Adult category and the Open category. Choralia competed against the youth choir Cor de Noies de l'Orfeó Catalá and the overall winners, Ponomaryov VESNA Children's Choir. Both the Saturday Gala Concert and the Sunday Grand Final were held at the stunning Palau de la Musica in central Barcelona, an architectural jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau. In addition to the girls’ vocal performances and a packed rehearsal schedule, the group also took the opportunity to visit Gaudi’s dramatic Basílica de la Sagrada Família, the Museu Picasso, the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, the winding iconic Las Ramblas shopping streets, as well as Barcelona’s celebrated beach. The Grand Final was broadcast by the majority of European national classical music broadcasters on radio, and also across some of the American and Asian broadcast channels. The Final was televised in Spain and streamed live on the internet.
Vicarsʼ Close Composition Woody Collins, a young musician and composer in Year 7, has been inspired to compose a song about Vicars’ Close and Wells Cathedral. Using the knowledge of his time at Wells as a Chorister and his own choral skills, Woody has integrated chorister singing and computer-generated Cathedral bells into his work, as well as Stuart Beer’s Alleluia, to depict the effect of the Cathedral looming over the Close.
Young Musicians’ Gala Recital In mid-January, Upper Sixth trumpeter Danni Woodnutt, and Lower Sixth pianist Sejin Yoon performed in the first of this year’s Young Musicians’ Gala Recitals in Cedars Hall. As finalists in the School’s Concerto Competition, the pupils presented an exciting and eclectic range of classical masterpieces for solo piano and solo trumpet. The recital also included the world premiere of Minds for Trumpet and Timpani by Paul Denegri, with fellow Lower Sixth percussionist Stan Talman as guest performer on timpani.
In Touch Spring 2020
In November, former Head Master John Baxter was honoured with a Foundation Fellowship for his commitment and services to the School at the annual Foundation Dinner, which took place alongside the official opening of the John Baxter Foyer in Cedars Hall. It was great to see many familiar faces who were teachers and parents at the School during Mr Baxter's tenure and to have the opportunity to thank him for all the support he has given the School over the years.
Babies and Marriages Lisa Jarvis and Jack - Tommy and Charlie. Lauren James and Alun - Elsie. Ellie Smith and Tom - Orla. Stuart Elks and Hannah - Raife. Charlotte White and Richard - Robin. Kirsty Lloyd and Joe - Bella.
Matt Hardy and Victoria - Sam. Amy Chadburn and Justin- Edwin. James Sim and Jenny - Theo. Ken Padgett and Helena married in October. Charlotte Welburn and Shane married in July. Emma Arden and Matt married in August.
In Touch Spring 2020
John Baxter Becomes a Foundation Fellow
Kate Dennis 18th October 1965 - 15th June 2019 “Kate seemed destined to become a teacher; from the age of eight she used to round up the children living around us into our garage and set them tasks, both academic and practical.” - Sally Cole, Kate’s Mum
Kate became a member of staff at Wells Cathedral Junior School in 2010, initially to cover maternity leave in a Year 2 class. In the years that followed, Kate taught across both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, displaying a multitude of pastoral and academic talents in the classroom. She was a terrific Year 3 Form Teacher and she thought long and hard about leaving this role to take on her dream job and promotion - Head of Art and Technology. Creativity was Kate’s passion. Everything she did, she did with her unique creative flair and imagination, whether it was enhancing the experience of children in their lessons, extending the more able children through the art enrichment group, displaying children’s work, organising costumes for every child in productions and other special events, leading much-loved trips and workshops, inspiring the children to cook and garden, arranging flowers and the Christmas trees in School, baking delicious cakes for the staff every Friday, reading books on the sofa or playing music wherever she was. She always had a project on the go and more in the pipeline ready to go. Kate embodied the ethos of our School unreservedly. She was always there for children and adults alike to listen to concerns and share in joy. Her dry sense of humour and incredibly funny expressions will stay with me forever! Kate will never know that her untimely death would evoke such an outpouring of love and affection from all those who knew her at Wells Cathedral Junior School, her extended family. Kate always looked after everyone around her and she encouraged us all to have a positive mindset; her glass was always half full! We have all been blessed to have had such an amazing person in our lives and we are all the richer for knowing Kate. Her living willow den, the Dennis the Menace Den, which she completed just a few months before her death, is a fine tribute to her.
Dedication by Julie Barrow, Wells Cathedral Junior School Head