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Greenfield School

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Woking Music Festival 2020, Starring Greenfield

We are incredibly proud of our Music and Drama success, and our dedication to the Arts has been recognised in abundance at the Woking Music Festival 2020.

Founded by Nancy Leigh in 1926, the Festival is now one of the largest of its kind in Surrey with over one thousand people taking part each year. It is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals (BIFF) who provide support for amateur festivals (wokingmusicfestival.org.uk, 2020). The competition welcomes people of all ages and abilities and is a celebration of the musical and literary vitality of Woking and the surrounding area; giving young amateur musicians and dramatists the opportunity to be inspired by their fellow performers, and be assessed by respected teachers.

Being a non-selective independent school, we aim to nurture pupils of all capabilities to their fullest potential in an array of subjects. As well as focusing on academia and sports, the school invests greatly in Music, Art, and Drama for children to find their creative outlet and hone their talents. Twenty-eight pupils from ages 6 to 11 took the opportunity to showcase their skills at the Woking Music Festival this year, and submitted their video entries across thirteen categories.

With ten 1st place awards achieved across an array of categories, it is clear that there is a varied display of talent at Greenfield. An example of one of our multi-talented pupils is Sanika Das (11), a member of our Drama Scholars performance group. Sanika used her dramatic abilities to triumph in the Public Speaking category; writing and delivering a poignant 7-minute speech on the idea of ‘Moving On’, drawing on emotions felt in moving to a new school - winning her the distinct ‘Outstanding’ Award.

 ‘Outstanding’ Awards are given to children whose performances exceed the level of Distinction and are rare across all categories. One such Award was given to the Drama Scholars’ group performance in the category ‘Group Drama 9 – 14 Years’, titled ‘The Show Must Go On’. In this piece, written entirely by themselves, the budding actors (ages 10-11) gave an incredible performance on the subject of COVID-19, specifically the lockdown and its effects on the community. Ms Beth Reeve, Director of Music and Drama, was extremely impressed by the thoughtful ideas, haunting themes and emotion shown in their performance. Click here to watch the performance.

Whilst our children shone at the Festival across the board, it was clear that they were up against stiff competition with some large categories, accomplished musicians and some much older competitors. A few standout 1st Place winners included Guitarist Edward Tinsley (8) and Percussionist Harris Hamer-Hodges (10), who both won categories which included children up to age 14 years. Other musicians who were victorious in their categories included flautist Annalie Morrow (10), and classical singer Ella Gray (8).

As well as the coveted ‘Outstanding’ award, Distinction, Merit and Commended awards were also given to pupils whose work earned a higher than average grade. Special recognition goes to Abbie Styles (11) who not only won 1st Place in Solo Acting and 2nd Place in Musical Theatre Voice Solo, but also achieved a Distinction in Musical Theatre Solo and a Merit Musical Theatre Duet, the latter being with Anna Reeve (9). Anna also was awarded a Merit in Music Theatre Solo (Under 10). 

Other students who graded at these higher award levels included: Saachi Rajani (10) for her Flute Solo; Lea Munnik (10), Elisabeth (9) and Jessica Pennells (7) and Poppy Richards (10) for Musical Theatre Under 10s.

As well as covering a broad Music and Drama curriculum, pupils are also offered the chance to fine-tune their musical and theatrical skills with one-to-one Music and LAMDA lessons during the school day. Whilst sharpening individual talents, Greenfield also fosters talent for team work and performing in a group. Ms Reeve has built a successful Performing Arts Academy; ‘Greenfield SELECT’, which runs every Saturday and throughout school holidays. The workshops on offer aim to build excellence in dance, singing and acting; exploring musical theatre in groups and as soloists. According to Ms Reeve, Greenfield SELECT “mixes high expectations with unfailing kindness; exposing the performers to honest guidance about the industry whilst helping them to fall in love with it.” Whilst composed of mostly Greenfield pupils, Ms Reeve’s Performing Arts Academy also nurtures young performers from any background who wish to join Greenfield SELECT.

Ms Reeve, who runs Greenfield SELECT alongside Mr Glauco Vallarino and Mr Vic Gilder (who have a combined musical experience of over 65 years) takes great pride in the fact that the Performing Arts School saw 100% 1st Place entries to all six categories entered; including two 1st Place Musical Theatre Group awards (in the Under 8s Category and the 12-17 Years Category).  Furthermore, in the Speech and Drama categories, a staggering 80% of all ‘Outstanding’ Awards were won by Greenfield or Greenfield SELECT pupils.

In celebrating these children’s incredible talents in their chosen creative fields, we also acknowledge the tremendous hard work undertaken. Although pupils have spent a large portion of the year away from school, then back at school with unfamiliar routines and restrictions, we are pleased to see that the lockdown has neither dampened their enthusiasm nor hindered their progress in their artistic, musical and dramatic endeavours. On top of this, ten of the twenty-eight pupils entered were from Year 6; including the Outstanding Drama Scholars performance group. Year 6 have had their Senior School exams pushed from January 2021 to late-November this year; consequently, they have had additional pressure to prepare earlier for their exams whilst also working on their pieces for the Festival. We have been immensely proud of the hard work that all Year 6 pupils and their teachers have put in this year to prepare for these exams which took place over lockdown.

Overall, we are incredibly proud to showcase our success at Woking Music Festival, displaying a wide range of talents across multiple disciplines. Within our school ethos, we emphasise the importance of discovering and developing passion, whilst identifying and fostering talent. With these aims being consistently being taken on board by our educators, these principles have undoubtedly led to the outstanding talent and results we saw at the Festival this year among our pupils. With expert guidance and unwavering support from our staff, we look forward to seeing current and future Greenfield pupils blossom into the esteemed musicians and dramatists of tomorrow.