I am delighted to be the new Director of Music at St Joseph’s. I have recently moved to North Devon, from Sherborne, where I have been Director of Music at Leweston School Sherborne for six years. In my previous role I was able to nurture a range of talent of both instrumentalists and choirs, all of whom had their own identity. I particularly enjoyed opportunities for the students to perform in nearby Sherborne Abbey and at local festivals. As a conductor I enjoyed directing the Joint Sherborne Schools’ Orchestra and Leweston Choral Society, who performed choral works ranging from Mozart’s Requiem to Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert and Alexander Le Strange’s Ziimbe! I have also been Musical Director of the People’s Choir, Yeovil for two years and enjoy running singing workshops.

My musical career began at the Royal College of Music, where I was a clarinet and piano Foundation Scholar, and then a Junior Fellow. I am fortunate to bring to my present role a wide range of experiences as both a professional performer and teacher. On leaving college I played with a number of London Orchestras as a clarinettist, and this led to work as a chamber musician and soloist all over the country and education and outreach work in a range of schools. My interest in historical instruments took me to France for two years, where I studied for a Masters Degree and I still enjoy playing in a historical basset horn trio.

Bringing people together through music is something that has always motivated me. A year teaching at Kampala Music School, Uganda was a catalyst for wishing to pursue a Director of Music Role in the UK and since then I have enjoyed encouraging students to play together as chamber musicians, sing together in choirs and include the wider community wherever possible. I believe that people can achieve more than they thought possible and music is a channel through which everyone can have a voice.

I am particularly impressed with the choral tradition at St Joseph’s and am excited about developing the students’ enthusiasm and opportunities for performance further. It is particularly refreshing to see such a healthy interest in singing for the boys and I hope to encourage more to join our boy’s choir, and introduce perhaps into a barbershop group or even a larger choral society. I would like to encourage our instrumentalists to play together, accompany each other and experience the vast range of repertoire out there which can be approachable to everyone.

My other love is the great outdoors, especially walking with my husband, one year old son and cocker spaniel on Dartmoor and sailing 1930s yachts on the Norfolk Broads.

Claire Whitehead

A lovely Christmas concert this afternoon for grandparents and our many guests from local residential homes in the packed school hall. Fantastic that we are joined by so many members of the local community for such a festive event, lovely to hear the choirs in full voice.

Service of Lessons and Carols

November 9th, 2016 | Posted by Annette Goswell in Events | Music - (0 Comments)

St Joseph's A5 Service of lessons & carols 2016.cdr

Music for a Winter Evening

November 4th, 2016 | Posted by Annette Goswell in Events | Music - (0 Comments)

St Joseph's A5 Music for a winter evening 2016.cdr

Many congratulations to the St Joseph’s School, Launceston Senior Chamber Choir members who passed their Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Dean’s and Bishop’s Awards. The following were all successful in the Dean’s Award: Charlotte Nuta and Tilly Cartwright, who both passed with Merits, and Cathryn Nuta and Hattie Loe who both passed with Distinctions. Rosanna Rowe and Beth Spink were very successful in the prestigious Bishop’s Award and both passed with Distinctions.

These national RSCM examinations test a wide range of knowledge and understanding. Not only did everyone have to perform up to four pieces of music, perform aural and sight-singing tests, but they had to undertake a very rigorous and lengthy viva-voce exam, answering questions on the Church’s calendar, liturgy, suitable music for the different services and seasons within the church, compare, contrast and analyse anthems and discuss their musical experience and contribution within the choir too – no mean feat.

Tilly, Hattie, Rosanna and Beth were presented with their distinctive green and purple ribbons by the Dean and Bishop at a special service at Truro Cathedral last Saturday.   Cathryn and Charlotte were sadly unable to join us, having successfully auditioned for Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, the largest specialist music school in the UK.

St Joseph’s has been entering candidates for the Dean’s Award since 1995 and the Bishop’s Award since 1999 and, according to RSCM Headquarters, has had the highest total number of successful RSCM Dean’s and Bishop’s Award winners in the whole of the South West.

Well done to them all!