Music Department Extra-Curricular Groups
St. Catherine’s has a very strong and well-known choral tradition and boasts numerous choirs, so if you enjoy singing you could find yourself a member of one of the following…
- U3 Choir
All girls in the U3 sing together as a choir every Monday lunchtime in the Autumn and Spring Terms. The U3 Choir performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert and the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral.
- Fourth Form Choir
Any girl in the L4 and U4 can join the Fourth Form Choir provided they are committed to attending rehearsals and concerts. The choir sings a variety of music in many different styles. The Fourth Form Choir performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert, the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral and the Middle School Summer Concert.
- Middle Chamber Choir
For those girls in the Middle School who really enjoy their choral singing, the Middle Chamber Choir is an auditioned choir of approximately 40 girls. Members of the Chamber Choir are also members of the U3 or Fourth Form Choirs. The choir regularly competes in the Godalming Festival to great acclaim. The Middle Chamber Choir also performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert, the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral and the Middle School Summer Concert.
- Middle Cantores
Like its big sister Cantores this is a small choir of 16 girls from the L4 and U4 with an auditioned membership, specialising in advanced and challenging repertoire. Members of Middle Cantores are also members of the Middle Chamber and Fourth Form Choirs and the choir performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert, the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral and the Middle School Summer Concert.
- Senior Choir
This is a large, un-auditioned choir which sings a variety of music in all styles, and is open to any girl from L5-U6. The Choir sings at many school concerts and other special occasions. In 2012 the Senior Choir made a recording with the Band of HM Royal Marines for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Senior Choir performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert, the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral, the Association Concert and the Senior School Summer Concert.
- Senior Chamber Choir
Another auditioned choir, this is the Senior equivalent of the Middle Chamber Choir. Membership is limited to 40 girls who are also members of the Senior or Chapel Choirs. Over the years, the choir has won competitions and has been invited to sing at many prestigious venues. The choir also tours abroad every two years – in 2009 to Bratislava and Vienna, 2011 to Padua, Verona and Venice, and 2013 a ‘Sound of Music’ tour to Austria. The Senior Chamber Choir also performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert, the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral and the Senior School Summer Concert.
Cantores is an auditioned choir of the 16 best choral singers in the Senior School. The group tackles challenging repertoire of all styles and performs regularly at Cathedral Evensongs (recent services include Guildford, Chichester and Salisbury Cathedrals), internal and external concerts, and other prestigious events. Cantores performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert, the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral and the Senior School Summer Concert.
- Chapel Choir
Chapel Choir is for members of the boarding community throughout the school, and leads the worship at the regular Wednesday evening, Easter and Advent Chapel Services. The Chapel Choir is directed by the Organ Scholar or Choir Leader, and also sings in the Guildford Cathedral Carol Service.
- Instrumental Ensembles
If you enjoy playing an instrument, there are many instrumental groups, orchestras and ensembles which cater for different levels of experience. They tend to be ability rather than age based.
- Wind Band and String Orchestra
These are both training ensembles for Middle School musicians up to Grade 3/4 level and are excellent ways to learn how to play in a group. In past years girls have enjoyed playing the theme music to Harry Potter, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the James Bond Theme and various other pieces. The String Orchestra gives its members an opportunity to learn the basics of orchestral and ensemble playing, and to become familiar with both the pleasure and responsibility that comes from collective music-making. These two ensembles perform in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert and the Middle School Summer Concert.
- Symphony Orchestra
This is for all orchestral instrumental players Grade 5/6 and above. In recent years Symphony Orchestra has performed symphonies by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert, Delius’ Sleigh Ride and Mendelssohn’s overture The Hebrides and Violin Concerto. There are also opportunities for senior pupils to perform concertos with the Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra performs in the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert and the Senior School Summer Concert. After the Summer Concert when the U5-U6 members are on Exam Study Leave, the remaining members are joined by advanced musicians from the Prep. School to form the Intermediate Orchestra. This performs in the Middle School Summer Concert.
This is the flagship string ensemble, comprising the most advanced and highly motivated string players in the school. It offers its members a chance to explore orchestral string music from the C17th to the present day, furthering their knowledge of performance practices and styles whilst honing their ensemble playing skills. Recent repertoire includes Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Holst’s St Paul’s Suite and the Poulenc Organ Concerto with the school’s Organ Scholar as soloist. Camerata performs at the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert, the Association and Senior School Summer Concerts, and tours abroad every two years with the Senior Chamber Choir.
- Dissonant Strings
This is a pop/rock/jazz string group where girls have a chance to explore styles and repertoires that are not usually associated with string instruments. The school has a set of electric string instruments for this purpose.
- Chamber Groups
There are many Chamber Groups in the school, and anyone who wishes to take part in this aspect of music making will be well catered for! As well as several string quartets, string/piano trios and duos there is also a Harp Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, piano duos and duets, Viola Club, a Cello Orchestra and some other less common ensembles. Some of these groups perform in the main concerts as well as the dedicated annual Chamber Concert which showcases this side of the Music Department.
- Recorder Consorts
There are currently four Recorder Consorts which welcome all pupils interested in playing in a Recorder Group. There is also a Crumhorn Ensemble! As well in appearing in the main school concerts, Recorder Consort I goes busking in Guildford every Christmas to raise money for local charities.
- Flute Choirs
There are two Flute Choirs, with instruments ranging from piccolo through alto flute to bass flute, which play exciting repertoire in a variety of moods and styles.
- Concert Band
The Concert Band is for brass and wind players from Grade 5 upwards, as well as featuring a battery of percussionists. The repertoire is fun, including film music such as Pirates of the Caribbean. The Concert Band performs at the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert and the Senior School Summer Concert, as well as playing on Remembrance Day, Speech Day and other large-scale school events.
- Jazz Band
Jazz Band, as its name suggests, is for saxophones, brass instruments, vocalists, lead guitar, bass guitar/double bass, drums and piano. The Band’s repertoire covers a wide range of styles of music from Glenn Miller through to Amy Winehouse and offers an invaluable way to learn basic jazz skills such as improvisation. The St Catherine’s Jazz Band has built up a very good reputation in recent years, and is in great demand to play at gigs inside and outside school. Within school, the Jazz Band will perform at the St Catherine’s Day Gala Concert and the Senior School Summer Concert, as well as playing on Speech Day and other large-scale school events.
- Brass Ensemble
The St. Catherine’s School Brass Ensemble was formed in September 2005. This vibrant ensemble has gone from strength to strength, constantly playing a new and demanding repertoire. The aim of the group is to train brass players to play well in an ensemble, improve their sight reading and, most importantly, enjoy their playing. The Ensemble rehearses throughout the year, performing at all the main School concerts and playing at the Carol Service in Guildford Cathedral.
- Concerts and Performances
When you are investing a lot of your time practising an instrument, or rehearsing with choirs and orchestras, it is nice to feel that one day someone is going to hear you, and at St. Catherine’s you will have numerous performing opportunities.