Submitted by 1stageteamadmin on Wed, 09/08/2021 - 11:08


After 17 months since the departure doors shut and OneStage travel itineraries were issued, we were delighted that a small group from King Edward VI School travelled to Suffolk in July. 

Year 13 student Emily tells us what they got up to: 

On Wednesday 30th June, thirteen of our sixth form musicians set off on our trip to the Suffolk coast, guided by our Director of Music, Debbie Madden, and Assistant Director of Music, Richard Sampson-Marr. This was an ambitious undertaking considering overnight school trips hadn’t been possible since the previous March.

Our first stop was Cambridge. Not only could we enjoy the cafés, restaurants, shops and festive atmosphere (some university students were matriculating that day) but burn off some steam by punting and renting electric scooters.

When we arrived at Leiston Abbey, our home for the next couple nights, we had dinner, unpacked and then a short rehearsal in the resident chapel to adjust to the new acoustic before our concert there the following evening.

On Thursday morning we first visited the Southwold beach and pier. Pebble skimming and mini golf competitions were held before we then moved to Snape Maltings, the Victorian barley malting site transformed into a concert hall by Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears. We even took the opportunity to perform one of our student’s acapella choral compositions in the highly prestigious concert hall.

After a walk around the surrounding marshes to Iken Church, we headed back to the Abbey for our evening concert. Our varied programme for strings and vocal consort included music by Vivaldi, Grieg, Whitacre and Piazzolla, which was enjoyed by an appreciative socially-distanced audience. To celebrate our first live performance in 16 months, we all headed to Aldeburgh for fish and chips on the beach!

On our final day we visited the Red House, Benjamin Britten’s home and composition studio. After an enlightening tour in which some of our keyboard students were able to play Britten’s personal piano, we set up to perform a shortened programme of our previous concert for the other visitors. An outdoor concert poses its challenges, and we had a few performers standing by to catch sheet music that went flying. Nonetheless the staff of the house were delighted to have live music back and the audience cheered for an encore. It was a fantastic close to a thoroughly enjoyable trip with great company. Many thanks to our hardworking music staff and OneStage Concert Tours who put it together against all the odds.