‘Mind blowing’ performance of The Messiah

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What an honour it was to witness the music department’s much anticipated performance of Handel’s Messiah. We often forget what a comparatively small school we are and to produce such a juggernaut of a performance is mind blowing.

The Messiah is a piece of work that we all know, or think we know, and is often performed in parts, traditionally at Christmas although the piece was written for Easter. Nick Gleed, not known to be shy and retiring, bravely and skilfully directed the entire piece.

When speaking to Matthew Rice, Chairman of Governors, in the interval he commented that in days of yore soloists would have been shipped in. I asked what the difference was now, and he replied “the teaching”. So enormous credit must go to our back stage heroes who can elicit such a beautiful noise from young lungs. From the first note of Alex Yetman, we knew we were in for a treat.

It is perhaps unfair to single out any of the soloists but my evening was made complete by the purity of Pippa Lock’s voice and the wonderful surprise of James Holt singing Soprano. How delightful it is to see so many boys obviously enjoying the choral experience and the combined choirs filled the Quad spectacularly.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the delight of seeing and hearing Caleb on cello, playing with the expertise we have come to expect of this talented young musician. The Quad was full of parents, friends and visitors and the school must feel proud that everyone left knowing they had witnessed something very special.

View photos

By Jenni Brittain, Teacher of Drama and Housemistress


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

Enriching Spring Concert

This year’s Spring Concert, held in the Quad last Friday, opened with the Concert Band’s rousing rendition of the First Suite for Military Band by Gustav Holt, played with real energy and enthusiasm under the assured direction of Keir Rowe.

We were treated to the fourth movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 104, the London Symphony.  This is a challenging piece for all concerned, but the Orchestra was lead confidently by Sofia Tavener (6.2) and directed clearly and musically by Nick Gleed.

Handel’s Concerto Grosso op. 6 No. 4 was played by the Chamber Orchestra and directed by William Lithgow from the harpsichord. Nick Gleed played the organ which, as it turned out, was the last time we heard the organ in the concert as it broke down; a real shame as some of the choral works in the second half of the concert would have been enriched by its contribution. Giacomo Pozzuto – oboe, and Sofia Tavener – violin, played beautifully together shaping the phrases as one.

The second half of the concert opened with an outstanding performance by Olivia Brett (6.2), accompanied by Nick Gleed, performing Schubert’s very taxing and remarkably written Gretchen am Spinnrade.

The Cecilia Consort sang Christe qui lux et dies by Robert White, which opens with a plainchant taken up by wonderful part writing for the full Consort. The Consort followed with Robert Pearsall’s Lay a Garland – an eight-part polyphony of wondrous beauty.  The Consort finished with ‘And so it goes’ – words by Billy Joel and music arranged by Bob Chilcott.  I have never heard the Consort sing so fluidly as one, exceptionally good balance – a treat to hear a choir really listening to each other in this moving piece.

The full school Choir sang Peter Cornelius’ Stromflut after the Sarabande from J.S. Bach’s English Suite No. 3; followed by Jonathan Batishill’s ‘O Lord look down from heaven’ and the Kyrie from Dvorak’s Mass in D.  The final piece of the concert was Blessed be the God and Father, a wonderfully rousing and spiritually uplifting old timer by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.

The whole concert left one feeling enriched and proud to be part of something very important to the school, and definitely something valuable that must be celebrated.

By Phillip Guy-Bromley, Head of Vocal Studies

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

From Stalin’s Moscow to the Austria of Mozart and Brahms

The Cecilia Concert has the reputation for its eclectic programming but 2013’s must be the most extreme yet: from Stalin’s Moscow to the Austria of Mozart and Brahms with plenty of stops in between. Keir Rowe began the music with a brilliantly spirited performance of Shostakovich’s Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra. Clearly this was the composer letting off steam during the Soviet Union’s worst decade and the Concert Band whirled their way expertly through the music. The next part of the orchestral half was much more traditional with the First Orchestra playing Brahms’ St Anthony Variations and Will Lithgow conducting the Chamber Orchestra in a wonderfully poised rendition of Mozart’s Divertimento. The second half of the concert was devoted to choral music with the Barbershop Boys, the Cecilia Consort and Choir all performing. As a singer in the latter Nick Gleed‘s programme notes confirmed my fears calling the C.P.E. Bach Magnificat ‘astonishingly difficult’ and ‘unfathomable’ and yet the audience enthusiastically received the 182-bar ‘Amen’. Congratulations must go to everyone in the Music Department for arranging yet another highly successful concert.

By Nick Meigh, Teacher of History and Choir member

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

Hänsel and Gretel: a truly magical opera

As we all know, music is very special in the Bedales community. On Wednesday and Thursday last week, those of us who were lucky enough to get tickets (as they were all sold out weeks before the performances!), felt really privileged to attend this wonderful opera.

Hänsel and Gretel was originally composed by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1893 (in fact, the year John Badley founded Bedales!) so it was just perfect to perform it in the Lupton Hall.

The opera showcased the great collaboration of the Arts: Phillip Guy-Bromley (director), Sheila Rowe (producer), Nick Gleed and Will Lithgow (répétiteurs), Jo Alldridge (choreographer), Simon Sharp (set designer) and Rod Edwards and Cameron Cross (lighting technicians).

Superb singing, fantastic music playing, beautiful set, costumes, lighting and dance made this event truly amazing. And it was great to have our Bedales and Dunhurst musicians together: the young Dunhurstian singers added even more magic to the final scene.

Hänsel and Gretel were played respectively by 6.2s Olivia Brett and Immy Welch, two phenomenal and exceptional singers. Block 5 George Butler (the father in the fairy tale) and Josh Grubb (6.2) playing the clarinet also stood out. Everybody worked so hard.

It was so professionally done, polished and brilliant: “la cerise sur le gâteau” seems quite fitting here!

As always, a massive bravo to the Music department and a very big thank you to everyone involved. This special event will be remembered and cherished in our hearts for many years to come. John Badley (looking from above) must have been very proud indeed.

This fairytale opera was indeed truly magical! What a great treat!

By Marie-Pierre Hamard, Teacher of French

Hänsel and Gretel: a truly magical opera

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

New Bedales music video

Music, for performers and listeners alike, is central to daily life at the Bedales Schools. A long and distinguished tradition of fostering ambitions through the development of supportive friendships between staff and pupils has created happy, challenging and co-operative environments in our music departments. Bedales has recently published online a short three minute film focussing on music at Bedales. There is also a longer version, which includes interviews with Bedales Director of Music, Nick Gleed; Director of Music at Dunhurst and Dunannie, Ben Harlan; and guitar teacher, Neil Hornsby. Watch short music video. Watch full music video. Read more on Bedales Music.

Music - Josh and Kier

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

Soloists and consorts perform to St Peter’s

Soloists and consorts derived from the chamber choir and chamber orchestra performed a lunch-time recital in a packed St. Peter’s Church, Petersfield last Tuesday. Callum Anderson opened the concert with a delicately layered account of Schubert’s Gb Impromptu. The soaring contrapuntal beauty of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto (slow movement) found fine expression in the hands of two new sixth form scholars, Sofia Tavener and Miriam Wilford, accompanied by a solo string quintet. The second half of the concert began with Immy Welch, Olivia Brett and Georgie Gulliver forming into pairs for Humperdinck’s Prayer and Mozart’s Portrait Duet. This well-crafted concert concluded with the Chamber Choir singing Lotti’s Crucifixus, Haydn’s Insanae et Vanae and Schubert’s Intende Voci Orationis, a relatively unknown work of astonishing beauty for which the choir was joined by the tenor Patrick Burrowes (OB). View photos.

By Nick Gleed, Director of Music

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.