String Groups

String Quintet

This year the String Quintet consisted of Sarah Myles, Anna Stanfield, Lucy Hamilton, Tyler Smyth and Karl Kirkpatrick. We have had an extremely successful time playing together and have been privileged to play at multiple distinguished events throughout the school year.

Our first engagement came on Monday, 9 October when we were invited to entertain older members of the community at an event run by Belfast City Council in Girdwood Community Hub. Many attendees listened to our music and complimented our playing. This was a brilliant start to the year and gave us the invaluable experience of playing in the public eye.

On Wednesday, 11 October we entertained pupils, parents, teachers and governors after Grosvenor’s annual Prize Distribution. We did so from the balcony, overlooking the guests in the canteen.

Just before Christmas, we were invited to play in the Europa Hotel at the Ulster Chartered Accountants’ Annual Charity Lunch, where bankers from across Ulster gathered as they do every year. Our repertoire for the day featured several Christmas carols and festive songs. After playing, we received an amazing Christmas dinner which was described as “the highlight of the school year” by certain members of the Quintet! This was a great event to be invited to and it left us in great spirits for the Christmas holidays.

At the beginning of the new school term, we performed at the annual School Open Nights held in January. We played for prospective pupils and parents, with the intention of giving a glimpse into the endless musical opportunities available in Grosvenor.

Our last event of the year certainly did not disappoint as, on Thursday, 25 January we played in the lounge of the Stormont Hotel at the Eastside Awards Ceremony, a ceremony created to celebrate the best in East Belfast. It was hosted by Tara Mills, and many local celebrities were in attendance. We played as the guests arrived and we were honoured to be invited to such a prestigious event. This year, we have played various pieces, including ‘Palladio’ by Karl Jenkins, ‘Brandenburg Concerto’ by Bach, ‘Canon in D’ by Johann Pachelbel and ‘La Rejouissance’ by Handel. This year was Sarah and Anna’s last year in the Quintet; we would like to wish them all the best for the future and to thank them for their unwavering commitment to music in Grosvenor. We must also thank Miss Foster for organising our repertoire and accompanying us to many of our events. Playing in the String Quintet has not only improved our ability to play in a group, but also our appreciation of music on a whole and we look forward to many more musical opportunities to come.

Karl Kirkpatrick 12S

String Ensemble

String Group is an extra-curricular music activity in which string players rehearse on a Thursday after the main school orchestra from 4.15pm to 5.00pm. We play an extensive range of music from pieces by living composers such as John Williams Movie Themes, a string arrangement of ‘Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody’, TV Theme Tunes such as ‘Downtown Abbey’ and pop arrangements such as ‘Viva La Vida’. Throughout this year we balanced foot tapping chart pieces with sectional rehearsals (dividing into Violin 1, Violin II, Viola, Cello and Double Bass) to develop our string technique. This was showcased in a polished performance of the famous piece ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ by Edward Grieg featuring James Magrath (13 TG5) with the prominent double bass solo followed by ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ by Ennio Morricone with Ben Russell (13 TG1) playing the atmospheric solo. The Spring Concert is a musical highlight of the year and one that helps us to target our progress but in addition we look forward to playing at a couple of music assemblies throughout the year. The School’s Open Nights in January is a major occasion, playing in front prospective Grosvenor pupils and providing a friendly ambiance for our visitors. These great experiences have definitely improved everyone’s playing technique, sight-reading and has provided opportunities to build one’s self confidence while playing alongside pupils in all Year Groups and make friendships with fellow musicians. I would encourage anyone playing a string instrument to join, as it is a fun way to end a Thursday afternoon.

Anna Stanfield 14 TG2