Welcome back for this new academic year and I hope that you have all had a good and refreshing summer break. I am delighted to say that the students in both Year 11 and Year 13 did exceedingly well in their external examinations. In Year 13, 60.4% of the grades achieved by the students were at A*- B an improvement upon last year's figure. 16 students obtained places at Oxbridge Colleges and 10 students have obtained places to study Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science. However, I am also pleased to say that well over 90% of the students obtained places at either their 1st or 2nd choice of University. At GCSE, 87% of the students obtained the benchmark figure of 5 GCSEs at A*-C including English and Mathematics - this being a rise of 5% on last year's figures. 88% of the students got a Grade C or above in Mathematics and phenomenally, 97% of the year group got a Grade C or above in English Language.
These results are a clear testimony to the efforts of the students but also to all the teaching staff who have prepared them so effectively for their public examinations. We wish all the students well whether they are going on to University, employment, College or into the Associated Sixth Form.
Congratulations to Yusuf Rafique and Clarrie Pettit who have been elected Head Boy and Head Girl from September.
Vespers and Vespas
For the third time in 6 years, St Aidan's Sixth Form Chamber Choir embarked on a concert tour to Italy at the end of their studies in the summer term. The 50-strong choir, under their Director of Music, Mark Pallant, travelled to Tuscany and performed in Siena, Florence and Montecatini. During breaks in their performing schedule they visited the beautifully preserved home of the opera composer Puccini at Torre Del Lago, as well as Pisa and the picturesque town of San Gimignano. Their concert at the University Church in Siena, inducing music from Rachmaninov's Vespers, was prefaced by an impromptu performance on the steps of the church, alongside a row of iconic Vespa motorcycles, generating quite an audience. Another of the choir's concerts took place amidst the marble and fountains of the Spa buildings in Montecatini; appropriate for a student choir from Harrogate to perform in another elegant spa town. Mr Pallant said "for young singers to perform wonderful music in stunning buildings in the warm Italian summer is to store up musical memories which will stay with them for ever"
Great North Art Show Success
Congratulations to Charlotte Hawksworth (Year 9) and Boo Rigby (Year 8) who won the winners of the junior section of this prestigious show, their prize was a certificate for the school! An exhibition of all the works, many by professional artists with northern connections is being held in Ripon Cathedral until 21st September. To find out more about this fantastic event click here.
The Shoemaker and the King - St Aidan's Community Chorus - 22nd October 2014
Following the success in recent years of performances of The Armed Man, Faure’s Requiem, Carmina Burana and two Coronation Anthems, St Aidan’s Community Chorus reforms in the Autumn for an exciting concert, performing two pieces, one brand new and the other a great favourite. Celebrated composer Philip Wilby, former St Aidan’s parent, and Ian McMillan, Barnsley poet and broadcaster, have collaborated in an excellent new piece, “The Shoemaker and the King” about the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in a Leicester car park. We have been offered the opportunity of the second only performance of this, the first being in Leicester Cathedral in July. Ian and Phil will be our celebrity guests to assist with the performance at St Peter’s Church, Harrogate on Wednesday evening October 22nd. We will also be singing John Rutter’s well-known “Gloria”. No previous choral experience is necessary, simply a willingness to learn and sing enthusiastically. The choir is open to all students, parents, staff, governors and friends of St Aidan’s, and the event will also involve the 5 student choirs currently running at St Aidan’s. Rehearsals will be in September and October on Thursday evenings at St Aidan’s, commencing on the 4th September. If you would like to be involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest, or download this returnable form.
Success for Will!
Well done to Year 10 student Will Freeman who recently achieved a distinction in his tuba diploma at the tender age of 13 and is now working towards the next level. He is also hoping to audition for the National Youth Orchestra - we wish him well.
Calling All Performers!
We are looking for actors, dancers and singers as well as costume makers, make-up artists and technicians to take part in a major musical production of Evita by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice in November 2014. Evita tells the story of how a young girl escapes poverty to become the most powerful woman in her country adored by the masses and hated by the rich. With big musical numbers, dance scenes with a tango and salsa twist and some of musical theatres most dramatic moments, Evita is a show that will stir audiences' hearts and leave them shouting for more! Look up some of the most famous songs on YouTube such as 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina', 'Another Suitcase In Another Hall', 'A New Argentina' and 'The Money Kept Rolling In'.
There is a large ensemble in this production that will play a large variety of characters. If you would like to be involved in what will be the year's biggest showpiece production then please sign up to audition and be prepared to act, sing or dance your way to the top. You can also express an interest in joining the wonderful backstage crew to create costumes, make-up or technical effects.
Twelfth Night rock 'n' roll style (apologies to Mr Shakespeare!) is another exciting project, taking place in October 2014. We will be performing an abridged version of this famous Shakesperean comedy.Thank you to everyone who has auditioned, the standard has been incredibly high - it has not been an easy job! Click on the links below:
|Casting Notice||Cast List|
National Stage Success
Three former St Aidan’s students are celebrating this week after landing major stage roles in new productions this Autumn. The three students all studied Drama & Theatre Studies at St Aidan’s before going on to places at different top-flight drama schools across the country.
From sixth form, Joel Pitts trained at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and under his stage name as Joel Benedict he is performing in the major role of Eddie Lyons in the latest production of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, which kicked off its full UK tour in Cambridge earlier this month.
Verity Kirk, who trained at RADA [Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts] is starring as Mary Warren in Arthur Miller’s epic, The Crucible, which begins a one month run at The West Yorkshire Playhouse at the end of September.
Matt Johnson, whose equity name is Matthew Coulton, has landed the key role of John Darling in the Christmas production of Peter Pan at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake. Matt studied at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Fran Bray, Head of Drama & Theatre Studies at St Aidan’s and drama teacher for all three students, said "They were all actively involved in St Aidan’s theatre productions, as well as studying our formal Drama & Theatre studies course. Gaining a place at any of the top Drama Schools requires outstanding natural talent and the academic rigour of A Level qualifications in the subject. To then go on and secure major acting roles is a brilliant achievement."
The trio appeared in numerous productions at St Aidan’s and on stage together in Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, and The History Of Tom Jones. Their success is the latest in a long tradition of careers in the creative arts for former Aidan’s alumni. Another former student, James MacCallum, has just won ‘actor of the year’ for his stage craft at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and Pete Allison continues to win national awards as a radio DJ.
Fran continued, "At St Aidan’s we have a reputation for supporting students as they pursue a career in the performing arts, so it is fantastic when we see results like this. I’m so proud of all of them."