Music has always been at the centre of life at Oakham. During this last term, music has continued to shine brightly during the difficult and dark days of COVID-19. Music has brought together pupils who have been apart, provided focus, and lifted the spirits of the whole community. There has been weekly ‘Virtual Congo’ in which pupils and staff could participate in singing their favourite hymns, as well as thousands of online individual music lessons and a wide variety of concerts.
There have been an impressive nine weekly lunchtime concerts showcasing the incredible talents of Oakham’s pianists, singers, string players, woodwind players and composers. Normally held in All Saints’ Church in Oakham, the performers instead recorded their pieces at home, which were then uploaded for the School community and public to enjoy. Relaxed fortnightly Informal Concerts have also continued online, offering a rare opportunity during lockdown to hear over 70 works being performed live from pupils’ own homes, supported by their peers and staff.
Two major concerts in June replicated the normal plethora of end of year music-making, reaching hundreds of online viewers for the first time. First came the Leavers’ Concert on 5 June, in which many of our talented Form 7 leavers entertained us brilliantly. The End of Year Virtual Concert came a fortnight later, featuring 11 performances from 10 ensembles, and an astonishing four world premières of works composed and performed by Oakhamians. Seven of these performances were recorded virtually, including three virtual choir pieces from the Lower School Choir and Chapel Choir.
Music has also featured prominently in the School’s virtual Chapel services each week and other events that have taken place throughout the term, including all three prize giving ceremonies and the Form 7 Leavers’ Service in the final days of term.
“The quality of Music this term is a testament to the talent, commitment and resilience of Oakham’s musicians and their teachers,” says Director of Music, Peter Davis. “The pupil performances have been exceptional, and the breadth and quality of our musical programme has been magnificent. As always, musicians have played and sung on despite the challenges we have faced. Bravo to all!”
So, when the Good Schools Guide wrote “Why Oakham? It’s the music”, it has never been truer than this term.