"I have spent the last eight years teaching in St George’s British International School in Rome, where I was privileged to work with students from over 80 different nationalities. During this time, the school’s numerous choirs, orchestras and ensembles performed in some of the most prestigious venues in Rome, as well as undertaking Music Tours to a different European capital city every year. Personal highlights included playing the organ for Pope Francis during his visit to All Saints’ Church and seeing two of my own children successfully complete the extremely challenging International Baccalaureate diploma.
I have so many wonderful memories of my previous time working at Giggleswick School, such as the school’s incredible Quincentenary celebrations of 2012. These included a magnificent concert and firework display on Papes, which involved our combined choirs in collaboration with the Hallé Orchestra, and our Sport and Music Tour to Australia with over 70 students.
That year, we also performed Verdi’s Requiem in the Sports Hall and staged a musical production of Sondheim’s Into the Woods in the stunning Richard Whiteley Theatre. I was honoured to have been part of the opening of the theatre in 2010 and to have worked with numerous talented Giggleswickians, many of whom have gone on to careers in the Performing Arts.
Giggleswick School has so many outstanding creative activities on offer to its students of which the Music and Drama productions are just one of many areas I am looking forward to supporting. The Chapel Choir remains central to the musical, spiritual and cultural life of the school and I am impressed with the high standard of choral singing that has been maintained. Learning to play a musical instrument takes years of dedicated practice and having the opportunity to play alongside fellow students in orchestras and bands is such an important part of the students’ musical experience.
The forthcoming year will not be without its challenges for the Performing Arts as we have seen in the continued efforts of the wider Arts community to adapt and overcome these obstacles. In a similar way, I am sure the students at Giggleswick will rise to the challenges ahead, finding creative and imaginative ways to express themselves through Music, Dance, Drama and Art.
Looking beyond the immediate challenges of providing a meaningful musical education for all students during this pandemic, I am looking forward to building on the excellent work of my colleagues and predecessors. I also hope to reconnect with the local community in a variety of ways and look forward to being able to plan exciting collaborative events in the future.
Music enriches all our lives and we have all been affected by the lack of communal music activities over the past months. Gradually being able to come together as a school community once again will need great care and thoughtfulness, as well as considerable support from parents and colleagues. Knowing the powerful impact that Music has on us all and the way it enriches the lives of our students will be the driving force in re-energising the musical life of the school."