One of the many things that we have missed during the pandemic is collaborative music-making, and we have been delighted to be able to start to provide these opportunities again. On Friday 11th February, Mrs Adele Hudson arranged a brass afternoon where our Year 4, 5 and 6 brass players combined with brass players from Elton Primary School. They learned two brand new songs all together, supported by Mrs Hudson, Mr Hudson and other staff. The afternoon was finished off with a small concert to parents where we heard not only the combined pieces, but also showcased pieces that smaller ensembles from both schools had learned. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, and we look forward to further occasions where we can come together with other schools to provide collaborative music opportunities all together.

The House Music Competition has been an annual event at LJS for many years. The format, venue and timing of the competition has evolved since its inception and this year was an opportunity to reset under the leadership of our new Head of Music, Miss Nina Haynes. This year there would be four finalists from each house for the Junior competition (for Years 3 and 4) and four finalists from each house for the Senior competition (for Years 5 and 6). The first round of the competition was held virtually, and any children who wanted to take part could record themselves playing a piece on their instrument and send it in. We had a total of 104 videos from across Years 3 to 6, and the standard was incredibly high. Trying to choose the finalists from each house was a very difficult decision but eventually, we had our 32 finalists.

The final round of the competition was held on Monday evening in the LJS Hall and it was a pleasure to welcome our families in to watch the performances of the finalists. The Junior finalists performed first, with a range of instruments including voice, piano, strings and brass. We listened to a variety of pieces including Classical pieces such as When Daisies Pied and Arabesque, jazzy selections such as Creepy Crawly and The Detective, traditional pieces like All Night, All Day, as well as film and musical theatre classics Edelweiss and In My Own Little Corner. The Senior finalists took to the stage in the second half of the evening, with an even wider range of instruments as we added woodwind and percussion instruments in to the mix. Their performances spanned centuries from Prelude from Suite 1 by Bach, to In the Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg, to Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum by Debussy right up to Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie.

We were very pleased to welcome Mr Paul West, Director of Music from Bishop’s Stortford College to be our judge for the event. He was blown away by the fantastic talent showcased by the children who took part in the final and had an unenviable decision to make. This year we introduced some new awards – the Rising Star awards. These awards are given to children who showed real potential on their instrument. The Rising Star awards for 2022 were awarded to:

Rising Star for Voice – Olivia
Rising Star for Piano – Jack
Rising Star for Strings – Eloise
Rising Star for Brass – Sam
Rising Star for Woodwind – Georgie
Rising Star for Drums – George

The prizes for the winners and runners-up of the Junior and Senior competition were:

Junior Musician – Lila
Junior Musician runner-up – Lautaro
Senior Musician – Toby
Junior Musician runner-up – Joscelyne

The overall House winner is yet to be announced but we know it is going to be a very close decision!