Cundall Manor pupil Francesca Banks has been awarded a full music scholarship to Stowe School. The award marks a huge achievement for Francesca and the pinnacle of her amazing musical journey whilst at Cundall.
Thirteen year old Francesca, from Harrogate, first came to the attention of the Cundall Manor Music department when she was in Year 3 and already showing strong musical potential. Joining Cundall on a music scholarship Francesca has worked with Musical Director Mrs Wendy Ford and the Music department ever since to develop that potential. The school has been able to provide many opportunities for Francesca to showcase her talent and enhance her performances; she has played Maria in the Year 7 production of the Sound of Music, sung solos in various concerts and Carol Services, of course, featured as a soloist at the Stowe Choral Festival.
Over the last 12 years the school has formed a very strong relationship with Stowe School’s Music Department, Mrs Wendy Ford taking the choir down every year to take part in the Stowe School Choral Festival. When Stowe announced they were seeking a soloist for their festival, Mrs Ford submitted a recording of Francesca who then had to compete against choristers from around the country to be awarded the coveted role. Francesca’s performance of the solo in Mendelssohn’s ‘O For The Wings Of A Dove’ at the Festival was truly outstanding; clearly attracting the attention and interest of Stowe’s Director of Music and other staff.
When invited in front of the Stowe scholarship board earlier this month, Francesca was assessed by the Director of Music and other members of the school. She had to do a performance in each of her three studies – Francesca is a talented pianist and flautist as well as singer. She also had to endure a Viva Voce (an oral rather than written exam) and obviously performed very well in that.
Cundall Manor’s Musical Director Wendy Ford is full of praise for Francesca:
Francesca has always been totally committed to music. She practises hard in her three disciplines, which often involves getting up very early in the morning in order to fit it in before school! She attends Chamber Choir rehearsals and takes her responsibility as Head Chorister at Cundall very seriously. She sings as a member of the Cathedral Choir in Ripon attending weekly rehearsals and services and is a member of the school wind band. She has had to put in extra time to study music theory to gain grade 5 and has worked hard on the background musical knowledge to enable her to interview well as an all-round musician.
All in all, Francesca combines a marvellous work ethic, incredible talent and enormous potential. This scholarship award is well deserved and we wish her well on the next stage of her musical journey.