Music is at the heart of life at St Helen’s School. We provide opportunities for girls to develop and flourish musically whatever stage of their musical journey they are on.
We offer a plethora of co-curricular ensembles ranging from Orchestra and String Orchestra, to Big Band and Dixieland Band, from Recorder Consort to the Flute Ensemble as well as choirs including Senior Choir, Year 7-8 and Year 9+ Chamber Choir to name but a few. In addition, smaller ad hoc ensembles such as chamber groups, rock bands, madrigal singers for example are organised to suit the changing needs and abilities of our girls.
There are many performance opportunities for ensembles and choirs throughout the year, including the Autumn Concert, Carol Service, Joint Concert with Merchant Taylors’ School and Founder’s Concert. Soloists have opportunities to shine in our regular Soloists’ Showcase concerts and annual Music Competition which take place in the Seldon Recital Hall, the heart of our new state-of-the-art Mary Short School of Music building. Every other year we stage a musical in collaboration with Merchant Taylors’ School – most recently Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate and the Dolly Parton extravaganza 9 to 5.
We also aim to give St Helen’s girls the opportunity to perform in impressive venues outside the School. We host a large-scale concert every other year in St John’s Smith Square, Westminster, and have recently taken girls to sing and play in the orchestra for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Our 120th Anniversary Founder’s Concert in 2019 took place in St Albans Cathedral and saw a large number of girls from the Senior and Prep Schools join forces in a magnificent performance of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde. We also take the Senior Chamber Choir to sing Choral Evensong at Southwark Cathedral, and have organised music tours to a variety of destinations including Florence, Paris, Barcelona, Belgium and the Rhineland.
The Mary Short School of Music, officially opened by the conductor Sian Edwards in April 2019, provides St Helen’s girls with facilities which are second to none. These include the Seldon Recital Hall, two large classrooms which also serve as rehearsal spaces, a Music Tech Room equipped with a suite of iMac computers where girls can develop their composing skills, a Drum Room, a Recording Studio and thirteen individual practice rooms.
Girls throughout the School can choose to have individual instrumental or singing lessons which are taught by an outstanding team of around twenty specialist visiting music teachers. We offer lessons in all the standard orchestral instruments as well as piano (classical or jazz), guitar (classical, acoustic, electric or bass), drum kit, singing and theory.