Didcot Girls' School Orchestra play at Christ Church CathedralPosted on: 19/10/2018
Every year, Christ Church Cathedral hosts the Oxfordshire Civic Service and this year, our orchestra had the honour of being invited to play as part of this.
After many hours of rehearsals, students finally had the opportunity to rehearse in the cathedral prior to the service. Our orchestra is the biggest group they have ever had playing in the venue, and so making sure that we could all fit in was a challenge! The enormous pillars made logistics difficult but all 57 players squeezed in so that everyone could see.
As part of the service, we had been invited by the Lord Mayor of Oxford to have tea at St Frideswide’s church across the road from the cathedral. Many of our students ate their tea with Oxford academics and dignitaries from Oxfordshire including the Lord Lieutenant. Our students were confident and eloquent in their conversations, impressing many people there.
The orchestra performed three pieces at the beginning of the service as the final members of the congregation entered and two pieces at the end as the congregation laid their sprigs of rosemary on the shrine of St Frideswide. Students performed to an exceptionally high standard and sounded the best I have heard them in the two years I have been at DGS.
After the service, many members of the clergy came over to congratulate the orchestra on their performance. The Bishop of Oxford, so impressed with our group, invited us to return and play again. The Mayor of Didcot, Bill Service, told me that he was proud to say that we were “his school.”
Praise for our students came after the service also: the Cathedral Education Officer wrote to us to say that our students’ “behaviour, sense of purpose and organisation were exemplary.” Throughout the day, we were supported by a cathedral volunteer who commented afterward, “as a band I thought that they made a wonderful musical contribution to the occasion, and I was pleased that the Bishop came and made a nice thank you speech to them, but I was struck by what a delightful group they were to spend the afternoon with; they were chatty, open and friendly, interested in what was going on around them, and really a model group of students of whom the school should be very proud.”
David Clarke, Deputy Director for Education at Oxfordshire County Council, wrote and said that our students “were a joy to listen to and helped make this spectacular event even more special. You clearly have some very talented musicians at the school!”
We are incredibly proud of our students, both of their dedication to rehearsals and of their confidence and politeness which were evident at all times.