Shrewsbury School

A Week in the Life of the Orchard boys: Ross and Dan (PH 3)

Wednesday 5 December 2012

The week ahead was going to be the longest week at school so far. We have been playing in the School Symphony Orchestra and String Orchestra every Tuesday and Wednesday evening until 9pm, since the beginning of term. The orchestra has been very welcoming and we have met many boys from other years in the school. This week is a big week for musicians playing in the St Cecelia concerts, a weekend of music playing by the Wind Band, String Orchestra, Big Band and the Orchestra. The orchestra is also accompanying the Community Chorus singing the Haydn Mass with solo singers from the school.

The Orchard boys: Ross with cello, Dan with violinSunday 25th November
This week started off with a Sunday rehearsal, Mr Moore was anxious that we were well rehearsed and so we met with the choir and soloists to go through finer details. As day boys, we were not particularly happy being in school on Sunday, but time went very quickly and before we knew it we were being picked up again.

Monday 26th November
Monday morning always seems early as the alarm goes off and it's still dark outside. We crawl out of bed, eat loads of cereal and toast before picking up on the daily music practice. We try to practise in the mornings before school as otherwise it will never get done. It's a last minute flap around the house and we set off for school. Having negotiated with Mum whether it’s us late or Mum late for work, we win, and she drives via the Maidment Building to make our start a little easier. We’re always rushing for call over from the music block.

School is busy today, societies hour is a real luxury in the week as both of us do Kayaking and it’s great fun. In the afternoon Dan had a football match cancelled due to wet weather and Ross did rowing, not the favourite, as “it always feels like I'm going to capsize in the 'drink'!”

We rush to lessons, Dan is being hounded by Mr Hudson, he missed the spelling test and Mr Hudson won't rest until he's sorted it. We still have to fit in Top Schools around tea time and then Dan's violin lesson at 6:15pm which is followed by the Orchestra rehearsal for the Haydn Mass at 7:00pm. Meanwhile Ross was doing his Top Schools when he realised he had his Spanish oral, right over the other side of school in Ingram’s, "Quick, James, may I borrow your bike?" In a tearing hurry Ross arrived at his oral despite the pouring rain, his blazer soaking wet....but with a minute to spare. Phew !

Next to orchestra until 9pm....then home for Top Schools.

Tuesday 27th November
Up very early this morning, revise for history test and a little practice for piano lesson today. Then an unexpected de-ice of the car and a race along to school. Tutorials this morning, an anxious read through reports and some setting up of Duke of Edinburgh forms. Lessons all morning are followed by football training at Powerleague and on the Astro turf. Hard training sessions ready for the big matches against Repton on Saturday.

Tuesday evening, quick tea, half an hour of Top Schools followed by string orchestra rehearsal 7:30 -9:00pm in Maidment. We practise Elgar's 'Serenade for Strings' with David Joyce conducting.

Wednesday 28th November
I am given a Spanish project but can't quite see when it’s going to get done. We carried on to a chilled piano lesson; learning jazz is quite therapeutic. Back in normal lessons we are given an RS project - 'choose a natural disaster and research its effect on suffering'. This will take some thinking about... We move on to football, a 4-2 win for Dan in A's match v Wolverhampton Grammar and in Ross' match against ...Blessed Robert Johnson College...for B's, not much luck today, we played well but no win.

After tea, an orchestra rehearsal in the Alington Hall where we practised with Leonard Ma, violin soloist for the weekend concerts. Lots of stops and starts as we made sure he was happy with his performance. Finished 9pm, home to start projects and Top Schools.

Thursday 29th November
Alarm seems to get earlier every day this week, but at least the rain has stopped.

Normal lessons! Dan has piano, Ross a cello lesson to fit in as well. Drama, PSE activities, fun lessons and no Top Schools. We watch a film on Shakespeare and another about the brain, interesting and good discussions.

Finally time for Squash Top Squad; one of our favourite parts of the week is to thrash a ball around the court. Mr Harding is ready and waiting as the boys file in; he coaches then a challenge match for each of us. It’s a great way of releasing all the energy.

Quick tea and home early, loads of Top Schools to be done.

Friday 30th November
School as usual; curriculum games consisting of a long run into Frankwell where we spent the rest of the time on sprints and fitness.  Back to school and straight in for a much needed lunch.
After lunch, football practice with Mr Clancy in the gym for A's, and the B's practise on the pitches. It was a good training session with Mr Greetham ready for tomorrow's match.

Back to lessons Physics, Chemistry, then Maths last thing on a Friday, then to tea – the usual fill-up of pasta and mixed fruit drink! Then a rush back for Top Schools to fit in as much as we could before a long night ahead rehearsing for the weekend concerts. Everyone was there orchestra, choir, soloists to put it all together. Finished 10pm but surprisingly it went really quickly. Playing from start to finish was good as the string players have a lot to do and time flew by. We feel very small within this group, only a few third formers playing but it's good practice.

Saturday 1st December
Back to school for 8am, concert clothes packed, football kit and school books ready.

Lessons passed quickly - Art, French, English.  There is no toast on Saturdays in the house so we ran to the grot shop to buy our weekly hot sausage roll to keep us going until lunch.

More lessons and a dash to KH for lunch before our matches.

Big day playing Repton, the last match of the season.

2.15pm kick off, parents arrive, sidelines fill up, the toss is taken. Both matches went well A's are narrowly defeated with a last minute goal to Repton, B's were victorious 3 nil showing a great improvement from the beginning of the season when Shrewsbury B's lost.

4 till 5 free time back at Port Hill; 5.00-5.30pm string orchestra rehearsal, Mr Joyce must be panicking, we've got to get it right.

Short break while the audience arrived.

By 7.30pm the Alington Hall has filled downstairs and up, the choir took their places and the Big Band started the concert. The Wind Band followed and we took to the stage to accompany Leonard Ma playing the violin concerto. He was so chilled and made it look easy. After that, Beethoven's V Symphony and the interval.
After the interval came Elgar's Serenade for Strings followed by the Haydn Mass with the choir. We finished after 10pm and were pleased to be going home to bed!

Sunday 2nd December                                                               
Had a long lie in bed ....catching up on much needed sleep.
Today had to be a day of catch up - Top Schools, music practice for lessons and chilling out.... Dad cooked a lovely lunch, our first at home for a week and we caught up with our brother, home from his busy week at school.

Before we knew it the time had disappeared. Dad left to take Will back to school and we put on our concert clothes for the Sunday evening performance.

What must it be like to be a Professional musician?  It's great to see what it would be like and we learnt loads especially about getting through the notes....but, luckily, it's only for one weekend a year!

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