AKS Prep School ‘Christmas Spectacular’ lives up to its name
AKS Prep School ‘Giant (eighty-piece) Orchestra’ performs alongside Mr Thomas' award-winning Blackburn and Darwen Brass Band
On Friday 6th December the AKS Prep School ‘Giant (eighty-piece) Orchestra’ held their debut performance alongside guest performances from the award-winning Blackburn and Darwen Brass Band.
This event was orchestrated by Mr Daniel Thomas, who teaches music to children from two years upwards at AKS Nursery and Preparatory School. Mr Thomas is an accomplished musician himself and conducts the Blackburn and Darwen Brass Band in addition leading AKS Prep school music.
Seeing the children perform together was an impressive sight as it included whole year groups and their form teachers playing the violin (Year 3s), trombone (year 4s), flute and clarinet (year 5s) as well as the cornet (year 6s), alongside others on drums and saxophone. Given the sheer size of the group, it was the children’s timing and teamwork that made it even more breath-taking. The secret to their success was clear to see, as Mr Thomas moved seamlessly between roles during the evening as host, conductor and music teacher. His enthusiasm and energy is infectious, so it’s no surprise that music is becoming central to life at AKS Prep as he delivers his mission to “make music accessible to all”.
The concert was staged in the senior school hall and brought the spirit of Christmas alive from the first bars of the Festive intrada. The audience were then treated to a variety of performances, including the prep’s giant orchestra; a solo performance by Charlie from Year 5; the prep choir singing ‘Silent Night’ in English, French, Spanish and German and senior school students, J Jay (Year 12) and Sally (Year 13) singing Live Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. The audience enthusiastically joined in with carols, swayed in time to the Schneewalzer and gave their rapturous applause between performances before the Christmas finale and ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ as an encore.
The AKS Prep School instrumental music programme gives all children the opportunity to try a different instrument each year. For some children, these lessons represent a second or third instrument and in doing so, widens their appreciation of music; whilst for others it is their first taste of instrumental music, leading to them continuing with one-to-one lessons. The orchestra practises on Thursday mornings which supplements class music lessons. The children are also able to access online tutorials to help them practise at home.
The hard work by the children, staff and Mr Thomas was clear to see and the event was a fantastic opener for the Christmas season, with five further festive events scheduled across the community. The events include the AKS Christmas Fair, held between 11am and 2pm on Saturday 14th December in the senior school hall. All welcome.