Extra-Curricular Music

How it works!

A programme of extra-curricular ensembles and choirs run weekly in the SWCHS Music Department.  They build on the experiences of individual music lessons and/or classroom music teaching. Our clubs offer the chance to gain experience, performing alongside other musicians of a similar ability and there really is something for everyone.

The department draws on the skills of both the classroom staff and some of the visiting music teacher team to deliver a range of opportunities. The ensembles and choirs are intended to be challenging and enjoyable in equal measure; a place to hone your skills of ensemble musicianship and make friendships.

Some ensembles/choirs are open to any student of the necessary ability (regardless of where they receive tuition) and some are by invite only (more info below).

Those learning in school and at SCYM are expected to participate in at least one ensemble/choir and there is a strong, logical progression in the way they are organised. Music Academy students are also expected to take a prominent role within at least two ensembles/choirs.

With four school concerts each year, all ensembles/choirs will take part in at least two. With this in mind, weekly registers are taken which firstly indicates the commitment of a student and the reward of a music badge, and secondly collates to the emergency fire list at each concert. It is therefore essential that students: sign in on the relevant ensemble register each week and send an email or speak to the relevant ensemble director if unable to attend a rehearsal/concert. Chase up emails regarding lack of attendance at ensemble rehearsals will be sent to students and parents as we very much value commitment and courtesy.

Ensembles and choirs go on an oversees tour every year. This is an exciting opportunity and a celebration of Music at the end of the year.

It is important to note that in order to join any of the ensembles or choirs on offer, students should, in the first instance, contact the Music Department so that members of staff can make sure that the ensemble is appropriate for the student.

Junior/Intermediate Ensembles

These are open to performers that are working between grades 1 & 5 and act as training ensembles for the more senior groups. They perform in school concerts in Saffron Hall.

Intermediate Strings is open to players of orchestral string instruments. They perform music in a variety of differing styles and are directed by Mrs Patterson.

Intermediate Concert Band is directed by Miss Muir and will build a programme drawn from the standard band repertoire.

Junior Jazz Band is run by Mr Reed and is for Intermediate Concert Band players that want to further develop their skills in a jazz idiom. It also needs a pianist and guitar players to form its rhythm section. Junior Jazz Band members should also attend Intermediate Concert Band.

Lower School Choir is directed by Miss Law and welcomes students from Year 7, Year 8 & Year 9.

Members of the Music Academy may coach these ensembles from time to time.

Senior Ensembles

Senior ensembles are for students at grade 5 level and above. For balance and to ensure quality, a student may be required to audition for these ensembles and may also be placed on a waiting list.

Senior Strings is directed by Ms Ball, one of our string teachers and celebrates repertoire that is challenging and fun to play. There is also a String Quartet that takes its members from the larger group and is by invitation.

Senior Concert Band is directed by Mr Broadbent and generally plays music from the Symphonic Wind Orchestra repertoire and is very dependent on advanced sight-reading skills. This group also has an extensive repertoire of lighter items suitable for outdoor performances in the summer term.

Jazz Band is directed by Mr. Reed and works hard to build a folio of jazz standards in differing styles. Members of Jazz Band are invited from Senior Concert Band. These students will be auditioned and, if successful, will also remain in Senior Concert Band.

Symphony Orchestra is directed by Miss Law and caters for all string players of grade 5 level, but wind and brass players are invited to join as necessary. There may be a waiting list for wind and brass due to the size of the ensemble and the balance of instruments. This ensemble also requires percussion players that can read music, especially to play the timpani.

Show Choir is open to students in Year 9 and above. It tends to perform a lot of fun repertoire from movies and stage shows and is directed by Mrs Clark, one of our singing teachers. Please note that Year 7 and 8 students may be able to join Show Choir if they speak to the director but they should also be in the Lower School choir.

Chamber Choir is directed by Miss Law. It draws its repertoire from across the centuries and has some music especially arranged for it. This is by invitation and audition only, although expressions of interest are always welcome.

Smaller Ensembles

These tend to be directed by members of the peripatetic team and can vary year on year.

Mr Reavey runs The Rhythm Corporation, and this is a group of percussionists, some of whom have drum lessons and others who just enjoy Samba music.

Mr Meyrick runs a saxophone ensemble called Pure Sax.

Mrs Semken directs a Classical Guitar Ensemble, and they also join in music tour.

Caroline Ball runs String Quartet

Mr Bouzan directs Brass Ensemble and Senior Trombones


Senior Concert Band, Chamber Choir, Show Choir, Guitar Ensemble, Jazz Band and Orchestra make up the annual music tour that is a highlight of the year and reward for those students that have made a sustained and substantial contribution to the department for the past 12 months.