A large proportion of our pupils are involved in extra curricular musical activities, the rehearsals for which take place at lunchtimes.
Our ethos in this regard is that such activities across the year groups develop confidence in the individual and provide an opportunity for pupils to aspire to high standards in an area outside the usual school subjects.
Director of Music – Stewart Smith
Abbey Gate College Chapel Choir was formed in 1983 by its current Director of Music, Stewart Smith. It began as a Chamber Choir of 15 members which has now expanded to a full membership of over 65.
The choir recorded its first CD in March 1997 in Chester Cathedral, which includes the Fauré Requiem, Zadok the Priest and the Hallelujah Chorus. The second CD ‘Bright the Vision’ was recorded in 1999. In celebration of Abbey Gate College’s 25th Anniversary a third CD was recorded in Chester Cathedral in 2003. A CD has been made from live performances made during the Choir’s 2006 tour of the Czech Republic and in October 2009 the choir recorded a CD of ‘Christmas Favourites’. The most recent CD was produced at the end of 2014 from live performances in Poland (2013) and Hereford Cathedral (2014).
The Choir has toured Holland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France, the Czech Republic, Northern Italy including Venice, Belgium and the USA on two occasions. In the Uk the choir has performed in most English Cathedrals which includes Hereford, Gloucester, Chichester, and York Minster. The choir has sung Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral London, annually since 1990 with the latest performance ther being 18th April 2016. In the summer of 2015 the choir sang one Evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral followed by three Evensongs in Westminster Abbey. In 2017 the Choir will be singing in Lincoln Cathedral for a week.
The choir has produced a number of CD's and these are always available from the Director of Music and at all Concerts.
There are a number of Educational Visits as well as numerous extra curricular musical activities for pupils to get involved with;
Chapel Choir There are 75 singers in the choir some of whom are current and ex Cathedral Choristers. The choir rehearses twice a week and gives at least four performances per term. These performances include two services a year in Chester Cathedral for the whole school and an evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral London once a year at Easter. Each summer the choir has a tour either abroad or to an English Cathedral.
Listen to extracts of the College Chapel Choir at a fundraising concert in Malpas Church in January 2014:
Young Voices Choir This group of Year 7 pupils rehearses once a week and as well as the main purpose being a training choir for the Chapel Choir it performs at many school events and concerts throughout the year. It is directed by the singing teacher Mr Hartwell-Jones.
Concert Band The band rehearses once a week and performs at events in and out of school several times a year. Any pupil from about grade 3 standard is invited to join. The band is directed by the brass teacher Mr Lewis.
String Ensemble The String ensemble has been running for two years and has now started giving performances at school events. The aim is that this will build into a small string orchestra over time. It is directed by viola player Mrs Goodwin.
Saighton Syncopators This is a small dance band which meets weekly and is in demand to play at various social functions which has recently included the City of Chester Citizenship Ceremony.