The Junior School Orchestra is a large group of some 60 pupils from P4 to P7 and includes woodwind, brass and percussion players alongside a large number of strings. The orchestra plays at School concerts in December and March each year.
String Orchestra is made up of violin, viola and cello players play from Primary 3 to Primary 5. The orchestra plays in the Spring Concert, the main Junior School Concert, held in the Senior School. In addition, the orchestra plays in many small concerts throughout the year which take place in the Music School Auditorium. Many members of the String Orchestra move up to the Junior School Orchestra when they reach an appropriate level.
Big Band is a small ensemble of pupils from S1 to S6. The group plays a wide variety of Jazz and Pop styles, ranging from Glenn Miller to Stevie Wonder. The group consists of a reed section (alto, tenor and baritone saxophones), a brass section (trumpets and trombone) and a rhythm section (piano, bass, guitar and drums). They perform at many concerts throughout the year, in and out of School. Recent repetoire has included Superstition by Stevie Wonder, and Josef Zawinul’s Birdland.
Our Caritas Strings orchestra consists of the best string players in the School, generally between 30 and 40 pupils, and specialises in string music from the Baroque and 20th Century eras. Recently they have played a Corelli Concerto Grosso, Bartok's Rumanian Dances and Telemann's Viola Concerto. They have been on tour with the Chamber Choir several times in recent years, giving concerts in Poland, Italy and Slovenia.
2019 Czech Republic Tour Highlights
There are considerable opportunities for young musicians to play chamber music both in the Primary and Senior Schools. The precise nature of these opportunities varies from time to time but has included groups as diverse as Lower Primary Cello Group, Senior String Quartets, Flute Ensembles and Brass Groups. The aim of the Department is to offer chamber music-making to as many pupils as possible, selecting repertoire according to their particular needs and talents. Groups from the School have taken part in the Chamber Music Festival for Schools in Scotland and the Edinburgh Competitive Festival.
The 50 members of the Concert Band are all woodwind, brass and percussion players of at least Grade 5 standard. They perform at School concerts in November and March. Recent repertoire has included Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave.
Eclectric Circus is a small yet diverse ensemble of musicians from S1 to S6. Currently the group, consisting of two keyboards, two trombones, alto saxophone, an electric guitar, double bass, drummer and beatboxer/singer with a loop station, are working on a performance of Nat Adderley's Work Song, a jazz standard in a 16 bar blues form, which allows the musicians to develop their improvisation and 'comping' skills. Past performances include arrangements of Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity and M83's Go! which have enabled string players and singers to perform alongside more rock and pop style instruments. A recent performance of Hair by Graham Central Station involved a smaller group of musicians who worked primarily from the original recording while using their ears to work out and refine their parts. The very fluid nature of the ensemble, and both the electric and eclectic nature of the music, has led to its name Eclectric Circus!
Philharmonia Orchestra caters for orchestra players of roughly Grade 2 to Grade 5 standard and acts as a training orchestra. Like the Symphony Orchestra, they play at School concerts in November and March. They have recently played a Rondeau by Purcell and the Theme Music to Dr Who.
Symphony Orchestra is a large auditioned ensemble of approximately 70 pupils that caters for players of roughly Grades 5-8. The Orchestra performs each year at the concerts in School in November and March. In March 2017 the orchestra played music by Rachmaninov and Shostakovich at a concert in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Other recent repertoire has included Lehar's Gold and Silver Waltz and Khatchaturian's Masquerade Suite.
The 50 members of the Wind Band are all woodwind, brass and percussion players of at least Grade 3 standard. They perform at School concerts in November and March, moving up to the Concert Band when they reach an appropriate level.