A Festive End to a Busy Autumn Term: Laurence Jackson School Christmas Concert 2018

A49FD07A-0A36-4552-BCCD-F1201692EAC7Above: Laurence Jackson School Choir perform Gaudete!

Over seventy of our young instrumentalists and singers took part in our annual Laurence Jackson School Music Department Christmas Concert on Tuesday night.
This popular local event was attended by friends, family and members of the community who experienced an exceptional night of festive favourites and pieces students had been working on since September. This year we were excited to welcome back Opera Australia’s Eddie Muliau and Sarah Sweeting who performed a spellbinding rendition of All I Ask Of You from Phantom of the Opera. During the previous week Sarah and Eddie were in school delivering an inspirational workshop to our choir and as always we were very grateful for their excellent contribution.

IMG_7170 (3)Above: Sarah Sweeting and Eddie Muliau of Opera Australia

We were also joined by some of our ex-students now studying A-Level Music at Prior Pursglove College, who provided a brass trio (a must at Christmas!) and a wonderful piano solo (Beethoven’s Pathetique, Movement II) from Jack T.  Jack left us at the end of last year having achieved a Grade 9 in his GCSE music exam and it was great to welcome him back.

The first half featured our excellent choir who performed Gaudete!, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, an arrangment of Mistletoe and Wine and a (12-minute!) arrangment of Choral Highlights from Mamma Mia! Members of the audience were clearly very impressed with the standard of performance and we were delighted to hear that Sarah and Eddie, who work regularly with choirs in the UK, Australia and New Zealand believe this is one of the best they’ve heard.

As always there were many lovely performances from soloists across all year groups together with a rather unusual rock version of Silent Night from our Guitar, Ukulele and Keyboard Band!

9CB41A50-A6C7-49AA-B1D3-16A1CC698F2FGeorge (Year 9) and Anna (Year 10) – Stage Band Vocals

The second half featured our Stage Band and Orchestra who concluded the evening with a rousing audience sing-a-long of Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade.

IMG_7173Above: Jacob (Year 7)

Thanks go to Sarah Sweeting and Eddie Muliau, our instrumental and vocal team and the wider LJS community for supporting our event and making the evening such a resounding success.

Merry Christmas 2018 from Laurence Jackson School Music Department!

‘Thank you for inviting Guisborough Town Council to the Laurence Jackson School Christmas Concert, as you know the Mayor had another engagement last night so I was asked to attend and represent the Town Council. I was very impressed with the evening, the students and staff involved put on an extremely enjoyable and professional show which I felt privileged to attend. Please pass on my congratulations to all involved.’  

Cllr Hazel Meynell

Events and rehearsals Autumn Term 2018 – including news about this year’s production!

Trips, workshops and rehearsals have provided a busy and exciting start to the Autumn term for Laurence Jackson School Music Department. On Wednesday 19 September a group of Year 10 and 11 students went to see the national tour of Wicked at the Empire Theatre, Sunderland. The trip was a fantastic opportunity for our GCSE Music students to see a live performance of one of their favourite set works.

Wicked trip students

Above: Nina, Bryony, Noah and Hannah enjoying a performance of Wicked

Below: The set of Wicked at the Sunderland Empire Theatre

Wicked Sunderland Empire

Outside visits continue next week when a group of students will be visiting St Nicholas Church in Guisborough for an Opera Nova production of Feuds, Family and Friendship. For many this will be their first experience of a professional operatic production and should prove to be a great musical experience.

Meanwhile our programme of workshops started earlier this term with an excellent African Drumming workshop delivered by Phil McPharlane of the Tees Valley Music Service. Our Year 9 musicians took part in the workshop which was aimed at developing their improvisation skills. The students thoroughly enjoyed the session and the chance to work with a more unusual selection of instruments.

Below: George (Year 9) leading the ensemble as master drummer

Drumming workshop

Later on this term we are looking forward to hosting workshops led by students of the Prague Conservatoire and welcoming back Eddie Muliau and Sarah Sweeting of Opera Australia who will be working with our choir.

Our extensive programme of rehearsals is once again in full swing with opportunities for students to take part in our music clubs and ensembles including Stage Band, Orchestra, Guitar Group and Choir. It’s great to see that many of our new Year 7 students have already signed-up for the opportunity to learn a musical instrument (over 40!) Looking ahead we will be preparing for our Christmas Concert which is due to take place on Tuesday 18th December. We are also delighted to announce that this year’s production will be Little Shop of Horrors. Our last production of this show was over 10 years ago when our lead role of Seymour Krelborn was played by Tom Bainbridge who is currently part of the MAMMA MIA! International Tour Cast. First rehearsal takes place Thursday 18 October.

Summer Production 2018: Standing Ovations for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

This year’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which played to packed houses, was simply outstanding. The cast which included students from all year groups delivered two performances of the smash hit musical by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman and Tim Rice.

The lead roles, Belle and The Beast were played by Anna, Y9 and Scott, Y11 (below). Both delivered moving performances especially with their solos Home and If I Can’t Love Her.


They were supported by an extremely strong cast of talented principals. The dastardly Gaston and his sidekick Lefou (played brilliantly by Carl and Zach, Year 11) were joined by Noah, Year 9, who gave a great performance as the sinister Monsieur D’arque.


The Beast’s enchanted household of Lumiere (George, Year 8), Cogsworth (Ewan, Year 10), the superb Madame De La Grande Bouche (Aimee, Year 8), Babette (Caitlin, Year 9) and Chip (Emily, Year 8), delighted audiences with their humorous interpretation of the roles. The title song Beauty and the Beast was beautifully performed by Ellie (Year 8), who gave a wonderful performance as Mrs Potts. Other high quality performances were given by Luke (Year 8) as Belle’s father and Bryony (Year 10) who delivered an atmospheric introduction to the story as the Narrator.

The show was underpinned by a superb chorus who performed musically challenging set pieces such as Be Our Guest combined with polished choreography and excellent characterisation. The hours of work students had put in to create the show certainly paid off with standing ovations on both nights.

“The show was fantastic, everyone involved was amazing – they all did an incredible job.”    Nick Coleman (visiting sound technician)

As always the project brought together a wide range of disciplines in the arts and was supported by a large team of staff. The core production team, Mr Codling, Mr Allan, Miss Dunford, Miss Shaw and Mrs Allen would like to thank the many students and staff who were involved in creating this fantastic five-star performance.

Well done!


Spring Term 2018

Our Spring Concert last night was an uplifting end to what has been a busy term for Laurence Jackson School Music Department. In February, we welcomed Russian concert pianist Yulia Vershinina, who delivered an inspirational masterclass to our keyboard players. Three of our talented pianists, Emma, Camille (both in Year 7) and Jack (Year 11) presented music by Chopin, Zilinski and Vanhal.

Yulia Workshop

“My experience with Yulia was fantastic! She really helped me to improve my piece – I was able to use her useful tips in my exam last week which was great!” Emma

At the end of the session Yulia played a wonderfully evocative piece by Ravel (Oiseaux Tristes) and talked about her international career with a question and answer session at the end.

Later in the term our Choir spent a very enjoyable afternoon working on performance and presentation technique with Opera Australia’s Sarah Sweeting (pictured below). Sarah was really impressed by the standard of performance which our students were able to achieve. Pieces this term included work by Tallis and the demanding Medley from Les Miserables (arr. Ed Lojeski).

Sarah Sweeting Workshop

As always our Spring Concert was a resounding success with many great performances from our students (well done!) We were delighted that Sarah was able to join us together with a brass quartet from Prior Pursglove College.




Meanwhile, rehearsals for our summer production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast are in full swing and we’re really looking forward to presenting the results of our hard work in June. Tickets on sale soon – more details to follow!

Russian Concert Pianist to Visit Laurence Jackson School Music Department

We are delighted that concert pianist Yulia Vershinina will be visiting Laurence Jackson School Music Department on Thursday 1st February. Yulia will be delivering an inspirational workshop to our pianists and keyboard players as well as performing.


Born in 1989, Yulia began studying the piano in her birth town Korolev, near Moscow. When she was nine Yulia moved to Belgium, where she was taught by the Moguilevsky family and later by Maria Meerovitch and Daniel Blumenthal. At thirteen she won her first international competition and at sixteen, following another first-prize, Yulia was invited to perform at a gala concert in Carnegie Hall, New York.

Yulia has performed at many prestigious venues including St Martin-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall, Hamburg Musikhalle, Grande Salle des Concerts of the Brussels Royal Conservatoire and others. She has also played in the Rising Stars concert at the 5th International Music Festival in Vianna Do Castelo, Portugal. Last year, she was invited twice to perform at Leeds College of Music as part of their International Concert Season. In May 2016, Yulia won the 1st Prize at the “Wales International Piano Competition” in Caernarfon and the following year, the 2nd Prize at the “Mark Ray Recital Prize” at the RNCM. One of the highlights of 2018 will be a performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for two pianos alongside Chiahu Lee, in the Luxembourg Philharmonie.

Yulia was awarded a full scholarship for her undergraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and in September 2017 she completed the MMus programme with distinction under the tutelage of Richard Ormrod, with generous support from the Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award and the RNCM scholarship.

Upcoming engagements will take Yulia across Europe performing a variety of repertoire including Bach, Ravel, Schubert and Schoenberg.

Laurence Jackson School Christmas Concert 2017


Christmas Concert 3On Tuesday night the Music Department proudly presented the annual Laurence Jackson School Christmas Concert 2017. This year the event was attended by over two hundred visitors who gathered in the new school hall to experience seasonal music and mince pies in a wonderful end to the autumn term. As always there were some fantastic solos – a Chopin Nocturne presented by Year 11 student Jack, followed by the Stage Band debut of Harrison in Year 7 (pictured below), who played the lead saxophone solo in Careless Whisper. A lovely festive solo was provided by Anna in Year 9 who sung the classic Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, together with many other seasonal favourites performed by our impressive Singing Shed groups.

Christmas Concert 9

A polished and humorous performance of Baby it’s Cold Outside was provided by Y11 students Scott and Katie (pictured below) whilst the orchestra performed a number of festive items including an atmospheric rendition of The Snowman.

Christmas Concert 4

Our Stage Band, which included many new students, rounded the concert off brilliantly with All I Want for Christmas is You (a real crowd-pleaser!) and the Laurence Jackson School 4-part Choir continues to develop their challenging repertoire, presenting a spine-tingling performance of Adiemus by Karl Jenkins.

A big thank you to all of the students who took part and the many staff (including our instrumental teaching staff) who supported this event. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from Laurence Jackson School Music Department.

The next Laurence Jackson School Music Department concert will take place on Tuesday 27th March 2018, 7pm. Tickets (£3.50) will be available from the finance office two weeks before the event.

Christmas Concert Tuesday 19th December


Christmas Concert Pic

Our annual Christmas Concert will take place on Tuesday 19 December at 7pm. This is always a thoroughly enjoyable event which is usually attended by over two hundred visitors. A fantastic opportunity to showcase the musical talents of LJS students, this year festive items will be performed by the Orchestra, Choir, Stage Band, Singing Shed Group and Guitar Ensemble together with a number of solo items. Tickets priced at £3.50 are available from the school Finance Office and refreshments will be available at the end of the concert.