Music flourishes at Pate's, both as an academic subject and as an important part of wider school life. The excellence of the music department has been nationally recognised with a Business Education Award and a Gold Award from the Incorporated Society of Musicians. Many of our musicians play or sing in national and county ensembles, and whether in assembly, concerts, lessons, workshops or tours, there are many opportunities for making music. Well over half of the school plays at least one instrument, with large numbers of pupils taking part in choirs, orchestras and bands. Both the Symphony Orchestra and Big Band have reached the finals of the National Festival of Music for Youth, and chamber ensembles have reached the finals, and indeed won, the Pro Corda National Chamber Music for Schools Competition. Whilst we strive for excellence, we achieve this through encouraging musicians of all levels to take part in something. Mass participation is strongly encouraged!
The music department is a busy place to be each lunchtime with a huge number of ensembles rehearsing over the course of the week. Two orchestras, four choirs, three jazz bands, flute, guitar, grade 5 theory and percussion groups make up just some of the activities on offer, whilst the music society runs a selection of workshops, talks and trips over the course of the year and a new music ensemble performs student compositions.
Private music lessons from our peripatetic staff are available in a full range of instruments. Lessons take place within the normal school day, and are timetabled on a rotational basis so that pupils do not miss the same lesson each week. Many pupils start new instruments in Year 7 and beyond.
The Symphony Orchestra is open to String Players Grade 6+, with brass and wind at grade 7+. In recent years the orchestra has toured in Prague as well as playing at Symphony Hall as one of the top ten school orchestras in the country. Recent varied repertoire has included Walton, Holst, Beethoven, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninov as well as film scores.
Chamber Choir is a small, elite group of auditioned singers – mainly, but not exclusively, from the sixth form. Repertoire is varied, from the renaissance to some lighter, modern pieces.
Pate's Symphony Orchestra playing the Star Wars Theme during leavers' Concert
"Wow a sophisticated and mature sound. There is a richness to your full orchestra tone that’s in keeping with the best youth orchestras in the country..a very impressive orchestra. Technically assured, clearly focussed sound, disciplined, professional sheen." (Music for Youth - First Orchestra performance at Cheltenham Town Hall)
"Great solos and nice to see so many of you featured. The unison full band melodic lines are powerful, bright and punchy" (Music for Youth - Big Band performance at Cheltenham Town Hall)