A fantastic afternoon was had by all fortunate to attend the 2018 Christmas Entertainment afternoon at St
Joseph’s. Residents of local care and residential homes joined grandparents of St Joseph’s children for an afternoon of carols and Christmas singing, followed up by a festive quiz and all topped off with mince pies, tea and coffee.
The audience were initially treated to music from Canzonetta, the Boys’ Choir and the Chamber Choir, all of whom sounded fabulous. This was followed by a very impressive rendition of The Holly and the Ivy, which showed just how accomplished the choirs were in relation to the less trained singers, and rounded off with carols with which everyone participated.
It was also a pleasure to welcome back Janet Worsnip, a teacher who is a very important part of St Joseph’s school history. She taught biology and science at the school for many years, and was very pleased to be back. Mr Scott said of Miss Worsnip “I know how highly she was regarded during her time here from those who taught with her. It was a privilege to see her back in school, and it is because of teachers like her that the school has such a proud past.”
The children then served their guests as they enjoyed the festive food. All agreed it was a very successful afternoon’s entertainment, and a great chance for faces from St Joseph’s past and present to share some seasonal joy.
Many congratulations to members of the Senior Choir who were successful in their Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) Dean’s Awards examinations and who were presented with their distinctive green ribbons by the Dean at a special service at Truro Cathedral on 6th October 2018. Lucas Drayton kept the flag flying for the Head Choristers of the Boys’ Choir, being the second young man in that position to have passed the examination. Mair Attwell, Maddie Marsh, Lucy Rowe, Chloe Smith, Issy Thorns and Millie Turner kept the tradition up for the Girls’ Choir and all passed with Distinction.
This national examination tests a wide range of knowledge and understanding. Not only did everyone have to perform three 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.
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!
There seemed to be a sense of déjà vu at this year’s Music for a Summer Evening concert! However for once, the sun came out and it really felt as if the summer concert season was well underway.
Apart from being a great social occasion with the chance of refreshments afterwards, it was encouraging to see a number of pupils (many of whom were Grade 6 standard and above), from Years 7 – 11 taking part. For such a young pupil base, their performances were outstanding.
In addition to the many superb solo performances, the newly re-formed Wind Band gave their debut performance, playing I dreamed a dream from Les Miserables. We welcomed a number of new players into the Band, including some pupils from the Junior School. The Boys’ Choir delighted the audience with their performance of Do you hear the people sing, also from Les Miserables.
As has been the tradition over the past few years, when we have listened to some compositions from the Y11 GCSE Music group, this year was no exception. Hattie and Holly proudly presented their Set Brief from the Exam Board to the audience, both of which were very well received.
Members of Canzonetta have also been working very hard throughout the past term and performed A Bunch of Thyme arranged by Michael Neaum, Philip Lane’s Full Fathom Five and Frank Bridge’s arrangement of the tongue twister, Peter Piper, to a very appreciative audience.
The evening ended with Canzonetta and the Boys’ Choir joining forces and performing Rutter’s Gaelic Blessing, followed by Rhythm of Life from Sweet Charity. They were joined by former Head Choristers Alina Nuta (2015-2016), and Rosanna Rowe (2016-2017) for both pieces.
A huge ‘well done’ to everyone who took part – especially all the soloists who performed so brilliantly: Katie Heard (Musical Theatre), Fallon Gillies (Violin), Issy Thorns (Flute), Darcey Courtney-Bridgey (Piano), Lucas Drayton (Singing), Alec Macdonald (Trumpet), Lucy Rowe (Singing), Holly Whale (Trombone) and Hattie Loe (Singing) as well as members of the Boys’ Choir, Canzonetta, the String Ensemble and the Wind Band. It was a fantastic evening and £182.50 was raised for the Cornwall Air Ambulance.
It is lovely to be able to walk around the school and see the children enjoying their lunchtime in the sunshine. Whether playing on the grass or the AstroTurf, it is clear that or Junior children are making the most of their time in the sun – as well they might after the winter’s rain. Such days are timely reminders that the sun always comes up again, that there is always a bright side, that good times are just around the corner – and sometimes lots of good things arrive at once.
For me, this weekend has provided many such opportunities. On Friday night, I was delighted to be able to spend the evening in the company of St Joseph’s parents, pupils and supporters as we enjoyed a simply stunning concert at Coads Green Methodist Chapel. We were treated to wonderful performances from Canzonetta, the Chamber Choir and our Boys’ Choir, as well as joyous individual performances from Hattie Lowe, Izzy Thorns, Lucas Drayton and Lucy Rowe. The final performance – a traditional final piece at a St Joseph’s concert – saw members of the Launceston Male Voice Choir join the girls and boys of St Joseph’s for a wonderful performance of Rhythm of Life. An ideal start to any weekend.
Saturday saw us in school, where Juniors and Seniors were trying out for Scholarships. These were taken with great maturity by all involved, and wonderfully catered for by Miss Walker, without whom the day simply would not run with anything like the efficiency she brings to all she does. Meanwhile in the Hall and Senior Music Room, rehearsals continued for Beauty and the Beast. My thanks to Mrs Hodgson, Mrs Gardner and Mrs Ivell for their work for what I am sure will be a brilliant Senior School summer production. Mrs Hodgson has been tireless in her support of the children, and her contribution is very much appreciated.
During most of Saturday I also had one eye on the updates from the Ten Tors official site as I tracked the progress of St Joseph’s 35 mile challenge team of Chloe Smith, Joe Allen, Olivia Collings, Arlen Morrell-Davies, Darcey Courtney-Bridgey and Max Darwall. An early morning dash to Okehampton – with bacon sandwiches all around for the Scott Family as we headed down the A30 – meant we were at the finish line to cheer the tired but elated team home.
The team have been trained by Mr Sam Matthews and Mr Paul Hine, and Mr Matthews told me “This team have worked incredibly hard over the training period and I had every confidence in them to achieve this challenge. Whilst the challenge is not a race, finishing so early and being first in from their route shows what a strong group these pupils are in terms of mental and physical fitness. They were superbly led by Joe and had one of the finest navigators in Max to get them around the moor.”
Despite their exhaustion, Chloe and Olivia, and a very proud Mrs Smith, had time to stop for an interview with the ITV news crew on hand, and it was apparent to all ITV viewers just how much the girls – and the whole team – had gained from this unique experience.
As Headteacher I am so proud of all the children have achieved, and the efforts of our outstanding staff to provide these opportunities for our pupils. We teach teamwork, resilience and independence as key values for at St Joseph’s School, and to see these exemplified by Mr Matthews and his team is fantastic. They deserve every credit for what they have achieved: their success is quite remarkable.
While it may make Monday seem like I have not been away from school, it is certainly worth it to enjoy the many and varied achievements of the children here at St Joseph’s. With the sun still shining, Juniors and Seniors have basked in its warming rays, and the most difficult thing so far has been persuading them back inside for this afternoon’s lessons. Long may it reign: Cornish summer sunshine bringing its glow to our happy, friendly and successful school.
Here’s to a wonderful Summer for every member of the St Joseph’s community.