Music is a large part of Downside life – there are over 20 musical co-curricular options and our busy Music Department provides over 160 one-to-one music lessons on a weekly basis across a wide range of instruments from the harp to the drums, bagpipes to guitar.  

We get great pleasure from sharing our love of music with other schools. As such, we recently welcomed three local primary schools to a Downside Choral Day, hosted by the Music Department and supported by Downside choristers. 

Our Head of Academic Music, Mr Bevan, had chosen a variety of pieces of music for the visiting pupils to learn. His main objective was to show the pupils what kind of music we perform in a building like Downside Abbey Church and, of course, to give them the experience of doing it themselves.  

The Wise Man Built his House upon the Rock isn’t one of the songs we perform in the Abbey Church, but it did give Mr Bevan the chance to play his ukulele and to get everyone warmed up before the main event!  

The pupils also sang a very short piece of plainsong, the famous Canon by Tallis, and an anthem called The Call of Wisdom by Will Todd, which was written for a massed choir of primary school children to sing in St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Inspired by a few members of our own Schola Cantorum, the children worked really hard through the morning to learn these songs. After a fantastic lunch, a tour of the Abbey Church and a sports taster session, they sang with the Schola to an audience of their parents and Downside staff filling the Abbey with the glorious sound of young voices. Mr McNamara, Director of Music, also gave us a brief demonstration of how the wonderful Compton organ works, and how loud it is! 

The day concluded with afternoon tea in the Weld Café with the visiting pupils and their parents. 

The whole day was a great success and we are looking forward to holding another Choral Day on Tuesday 8th November for Years 5 and 6. Please email us to book in your school. 

‘Thank you so much for your warm welcome on the exciting Music Day on Tuesday.
The children had a super time and are still recounting their fun at ‘Hogwarts’!’
Jacqui Foord, Croscombe and Stoke St Michael Nursery and Primary Federation 

Choral Day is one of several ‘experience days’ that Downside hosts for prep and primary schools. Other events include Outdoor Adventure, Forensic Detectives, Languages, Musical Theatre Art, Debating, Science and Sport. To find out more about attending one of these, please email us.