At the beginning of term, the Senior Choir along with a group of boys from the Fourth Form embarked on a very unique musical and cultural four day trip to Paris.
Singing in three very prestigious churches and abbeys in Paris, visiting landmarks such as Notre Dame, Versailles, Eiffel Tower, Sacré Cœur and Montmartre, it was a memorable and special trip for everyone.
For the Senior Choir it was their first tour and they were given the honour of singing in St Sulpice, St Germain des Près and La Sainte-Trinité. Matthew Atherton, Director of Music at Aysgarth School, prepared a programme befitting the buildings in which they would be performing. He included music such as ‘Zadok the Priest’ by George Fredric Handel and ‘I was glad when they said unto me’ by Hubert Parry. Some of the pieces were performed in French. There were also solo pieces performed on trumpet, cornet and organ. Parents of the boys and prospective parents were alongside the general public in listening to the performances.
This was such a wonderful experience for us and I wanted the programme to reflect the magnitude and beauty of the buildings in which we were performing as well as the breadth of skills we have in the Senior Choir and the soloists. We had very limited rehearsal time in each location, but the boys performed beautifully and made us all very proud.
Aysgarth School is renowned for the strength of its choir, indeed it boasts three choirs made up of over half the school.
Anthony Goddard, Headmaster, said:
We are so very proud of our choir and watching them perform was one of the proudest moments of my headship. As an all boy school, perhaps some might think that being part of the choir would not be a popular activity. In reality it is one of the most popular and ‘coolest’ things to do according to the boys. It is what defines our school that boys can choose to embrace a rich diversity of activities without worrying if there is stigma attached to it.
For the 4th Form French class that accompanied the choir it was a trip designed to be motivational and cultural. Taking in the sights and sounds of the French capital and putting into practice their language skills in the market at Versailles.
Catherine Pearson, Head of French at Aysgarth School, said:
Trips like these are important for the boys not only to motivate them but also allow them to explore a different culture and put their language skills into practice. For some boys it was their first taste of France and we put together an exciting programme that made sure they visited and experienced key Paris sights. For those who had previously visited, we created a programme that saw the boys visit some more unusual but fascinating places like Le Passe-Muraille, a statue in Montmartre of a fictional character named Dutilleul who discovers he can walk through walls.