Horsham District Schools unite to offer ‘Music for a Summer’s Evening’

Pupils from three secondary schools in the Horsham district united, in harmony, recently to present ‘Music for a Summer’s Evening’. Held at the Drill Hall in Horsham on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 July, the two uplifting concerts featured young musicians and vocalists from The Forest School, Tanbridge House School and The Weald School.
Part of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019, the concerts brought pupils together to perform a wide-ranging repertoire including music from stage and screen, as well as ensemble pieces and individual school performances. An instrumental rendition of Fatboy Slim’s Right Here, Right Now, set the tempo for audiences which included Councillor Kate Rowbottom, Chairman of the Council, and Councillor Jonathan Chowen, Deputy Leader. Other musical highlights included The Forest Vocal Group’s performance of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, the Weald Ensemble’s performance of Riptide and Tanbridge House Chamber Choir’s Hamilton Musical mashup. A collective rendition of ABBA’s Mamma Mia brought each evening to a close, complete with enthusiastic audience participation.
James Underwood, Chief Executive, West Sussex Music, explained: “I am hugely proud of the many high-quality musical opportunities that West Sussex Music, working in partnership with schools, is able to offer children and young people and these concerts are a wonderful example of this work in action.
“At West Sussex Music, we know making music with others provides higher levels of fulfilment and achievement and, thanks to the generosity of Horsham District Council, the efforts of Lizzie Holmes, our Leader for School Engagement for Secondary Schools and her work with Emily Vousden from The Forest School, Libbi Ingram from Tanbridge House and Ian Gardner from The Weald, these young musicians have had the opportunity to experience the thrill of public performance and all the confidence-building benefits that it brings.”
Through its facilitating role, West Sussex Music works to advocate that music remains within the very fabric of secondary school life. Locality working is at the heart of the charity’s strategy, enabling access for as many children as possible to large-scale, high quality musical opportunities, often in partnership with public venues and events like the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019.
“It was a real joy to work with colleagues from other schools and West Sussex Music to provide my students with an amazing and immersive musical experience. All the students who took part loved the concerts and the chance to work with friends, established and newly made, from other schools on a fun and varied programme. It could not have been possible without the help and support of Lizzie from West Sussex Music to help with the coordination and logistics of the day.”  Libbi Ingram, Tanbridge House School.
“The Year of Culture concerts were a fantastic experience for all of our students.  Very few of our boys have ever performed with such a large orchestra and choir, and now, as a result, have new experiences, friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. I know several of them have also been inspired to join the West Sussex Music ensembles as a result. Bring on our next joint venture!” Emily Vousden, The Forest School.
“It was brilliant seeing students from The Forest School, Tanbridge House and The Weald having a great time making music together and appreciating each other’s talent and hard work.” Ian Gardner, The Weald School.
West Sussex Music is the largest provider of high-quality music education to children and young people in West Sussex, offering vocal projects, whole-class ensemble tuition, instrumental and vocal tuition, and advice and support for schools as well as a comprehensive range of musical activities at its five Music Centres. Through its curriculum support, professional development opportunities and facilitating role, West Sussex Music builds music into the very fabric of school life; supporting schools and teachers to achieve the best possible outcomes for pupils, their families and the community.
For over 50 years, West Sussex Music has supported projects that enable access to cultural opportunities for disadvantaged and disaffected young people through its strategic partnerships with other arts and cultural organisations and it plays a valued role as the Music Education Hub for West Sussex. A Not-for Profit Independent Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status, West Sussex Music’s musical opportunities for children and young people are funded by income from parents, schools and the National Music Grant, administered by Arts Council England. For more information, please visit

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