D-E’s Middle and Upper Schools were treated to a special concert at their respective assemblies on the morning of Oct. 8, featuring 10 visiting students from St. Dominic’s Sixth Form College, a high school for students aged 16-18 in Harrow-on-the-Hill, England. With certain numbers accompanied by members of the Upper School Chorus and Orchestra and Jazz Rock Ensemble – including Danielle Roman ‘15, Elliot Roman ‘17, Jack Seidenberg ‘15 and Charles Squillante ‘17 – the female singers performed a mix of popular songs – from a Gershwin medley of “I Got Rhythm/The Way You Wear Your Hat” to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” – to rousing applause. These performances were completed just after spending less than 48 hours together, including shadowing the classes of host students – who also served as the girls’ host families for both Tuesday and Wednesday night – and with only three hours of joint rehearsal time.
St. Dominic’s Principal Andrew Parkin explained the history behind the schools’ partnership:
“This collaborative project was the result of a meeting between [D-E Performing Arts Chair] John Littlefield and myself back in 2011, when [the Upper School Orchestra] students and staff were on a tour of London and gave a wonderful concert at St. Augustine’s High School in Kilburn. I moved school jobs in January 2013 to take up the Principalship of St. Dominic’s Sixth Form College in Harrow-on-the-Hill. Since then, John and I have kept in touch and began talking seriously about a possible collaborative project at the end of last year, when I visited D-E with Abigail Gorton, my Head of Music. The final performances on Thursday were, I think, far better than any of us could have imagined, and it was clear from the reception of the audience that the music was very well received. The calibre of both sets of musicians is, I would say, some of the best that I have experienced in almost 20 years of involvement in music education. The students of both schools performed to an exceptionally high standard, and I know that all members of the D-E community were impressed with the musicality and quality that was evident throughout.
“I would like to say thank you to the students, staff and parents involved in this project that brought young musicians together across the Pond. A particular word of thanks to John Littlefield, who has worked so hard to ensure that our stay was perfect. Thanks also to Dr. De Jarnett for facilitating this event and welcoming us so warmly to the school community of D-E. Now we look forward to giving you a London and St. Dominic’s welcome in June next year, and hope that this may well be the start of a longstanding relationship.”