Message from the Head of Junior School
Mrs Vikki Meier
Several parents have remarked to me over the past week how quickly this half term has flown by, and I could not agree more; with only one week until the next break, there is still plenty to fit into our busy school schedule, however.
Of particular note has been the many recent and upcoming music opportunities. On Thursday, the Junior School Harp and String Quintet competed in the first round of the Pro Corda National Chamber Music Festival. Coached by Ms Potter-Hicks from the Senior School and accompanied by Miss O’Leary, they played wonderfully and were commended by the adjudicator, Pro Corta CEO Andrew Quartermaine, who noted how advanced they were for players in the Under 12 category. Min Ji, Evelyn, Kaelyn, Yueci and Leo performed Ave Maria and attended a mini-masterclass. We will hear shortly whether they have progressed to the next round, but regardless of the outcome, they should all feel very proud of their achievement.
Our regular series of informal concerts are always a pleasure to attend, and this week’s was no exception. With a wide range of instruments represented, often accompanied by Mr McGlone on the piano, I can only echo Mr Alexander’s closing thoughts that the progress made by pupils just during this first half of the year has been staggering. Even more importantly, the relaxed nature of these events not only offer the pupils a low-stakes environment in which to hone their own performance skills and enjoyment of playing to an audience, but also teach them to value the performances and skills of their peers. One of the many wonderful things about being part of an all-through school is that Junior School pupils are also able to appreciate the musical journey across many years and the impact that regular practice and dedication can have on their playing. Last week, Senior School music scholars visited the JS to play a short concert for Years 3 and 4 during their afternoon Form Period, dazzling with their skill and love of music.
There have also been several House events for the pupils to take part in over the past couple of weeks. The House poetry competition draws to a close, with a number of excellent submissions from all year groups. This half term’s House assemblies take place this and next Friday, as Heads of House, House Captains and wider members reflect on recent activities, celebrate their efforts and plan for the coming months. Probably the most eagerly anticipated House event each Lent Term is House Music, organised by Mr Alexander and concluding this afternoon. Over the past few weeks, Mr Alexander has heard performances from a record number of Junior School pupils, ranging from those who have played their instrument for several years to those who started just a few months ago. As with all House events, the focus is on contribution, with every child earning points for their House. Of those who have taken part, Mr Alexander has selected several from each year, ability range and instrumental family to play in a peer concert next Friday before the winning House is announced. Congratulations to everyone who took part; we look forward to finding out the results next week.
Next week will also be marked by our annual Lunar New Year celebrations, as we observe the shift into the Year of the Dragon. Once again, Mrs Pan has organised a series of events, assemblies and workshops for all year groups; our thanks to her, and all the pupils who have been busily involved in preparations, for all the work that goes into making this such a rich cultural experience each year.
Finally, we will soon bid a temporary farewell to Mrs Mills as she departs for maternity leave next week until the end of Michaelmas Term. in her absence, Ms Shirin Akhter will join the Junior School’s medical team. Ms Akhter is a student nurse who is taking a gap year from her studies and is looking forward to working with Nurse Catherine to support the wellbeing and care of our pupils.
Head of Junior School