Tonbridge Grammar School Motet Choir spend the afternoon of World Book Day studying their choral books with Dr Douglas Coombes MBE for an inspirational workshop. Mickey Mouse met Elphabah and tigers who came to tea!

Douglas is a prolific composer and has written for all ages – professional and non-professional – and his output includes 2 symphonies, a requiem, 5 masses, an Easter Oratorio, 3 operas, 2 ballets, orchestral music, songs, church music and music for children. For  ten years he was the music director and consultant of the BBC’s TV Songs of Praise Competition to find the Senior and Junior School Choir of the Year and conducted the choirs in all the TV celebratory concerts. He is an adjudicator  and has worked in many festivals in this country and abroad including twice in Hong Kong. He is one of the Patrons of the British Kodaly Academy.

Dr Coombes worked with the young singers aged 14-18 years via some musical warm ups and games before working on tone and technique.

The 50-strong choir are limbering up for two important events. On 17th March they will be taking part in their 9th National Choral Competition final, in support of Barnardo’s.

“To be selected for this national competition is a fabulous testimony to the consistency and outstanding quality of music-making at TGS,” says Assistant Head Teacher, Adrian Pitts. “It is a huge accolade to be recognised as one of the best senior school choirs in the country in this prestigious competition.”

The final for the Barnardo's National Choral Competition will take place in the Royal Festival Hall in London in front of 2,500 people. The choir will perform two pieces to the judges – Canadian composer Sarah Quartel’s “I will be with you”, and an exciting arrangement of gospel song “The Storm is passing over”. The choir will also perform in a Gala evening concert, in which they will perform one of these pieces again as well as two massed choir items with the other senior choirs and the 18 junior choirs taking part in the competition.

“It is certainly going to be a momentous event for the choir,” continues Adrian. “Few choirs can say they’ve been a part this competition as finalists for 9 years. We are up against some of the top choirs from Independent schools in the UK. Of course we would like to try to win it for a third time! “

As well as the competition, the Choir is busy working on their programmes for the 3rd European Choir Games in Riga Latvia in July, representing Great Britain. Local people can hear the Choir at the School Spring Concert on 26th April 2017.

Adrian Pitts, Motet Choir Director