We have had a very busy programme of arts events in the last few weeks of the spring term, with more still to come. The annual Spring Concert was the last big concert of their time at Ampleforth for some of our most talented students, now in their final year at school.

Highlights included solo performances from Jack Lau in Vivaldi’s Spring, Madeleine Hamilton (also playing the violin) in Beethoven’s Romance in F, and Jasmin Sykes, Lucy Murphy and Georgia Ofiaeli, who sang the contralto solos in Elgar’s Sea Pictures.

This Sunday, 31st March at 5pm, the Schola Puellarum of Ampleforth Abbey will be singing Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and music by Stanford, Ireland, Faure and Mendelssohn. Directed by William Dore with Rachel Dent on the harp and Tom Coxhead on the organ, no tickets are required. Please do come to hear our girls’ choir singing in the Abbey.

As the music department’s final concert of the term, there will be a recital of chamber music on Tuesday 2nd April at 7pm in the Performing Arts Centre. Chamber music has been a focus of the music department’s work this year, and this is the first concert to feature a full programme of chamber music. There is a great variety of ensembles performing and it promises to be a really interesting evening.

The Theatre has been very busy this term with students from across both St Martin's and Ampleforth College preparing for shows and practical exams. Mrs Clough says: ‘In the Upstairs Theatre we held an incredibly successful 'Showcase' evening - a one-night only celebration of Drama, Dance and Song compered by the hugely talented William Gibson (Year 12). The cast all worked very hard to entertain and enthral their audience with monologues, duologues, original and inspiring choreography, and both comic and heartfelt solos. Special congratulations should go to the St Martin's students for their bravery and professionalism as they took to the ACT stage for the very first time! In the Downstairs Theatre there has been a rolling programme of practical exams for Curricular Drama which has been keeping us all very busy. We kicked off the beginning of the term with an evening of classical and contemporary monologues performed by our  Year 10 Drama students, followed in quick succession by the Year 13s who transported their audience into the world of the Brontë sisters in their last ever performance at the college. Year 12s are now in the final throes of rehearsal for their Devised Drama practical performance next week and many Speech and Drama students are taking exams as this goes to press! Good luck to them all. We  hope you will be able to join us during Exhibition Weekend to see more of Ampleforth's emerging talent in the next ACT production - an adaptation of Roald Dahl's "The Twits". Watch this space!

Congratulations to Year 9 student Nico Shaw, who has been auditioned by National Theatre and British Youth Musical Theatre and accepted to play in Peter Pan in Margate, Kent from 31 July to 18 August. He goes down to Hampshire for a further casting workshop in May half term. Many thanks to the  drama and music departments who helped him to prepare for his auditions and submit a video.

A small group of Greek and Classics students recently attended a production of Sophocles’ Antigone performed by students of King’s College, London. It was a contemporary and sometimes controversial interpretation of the play, providing students with a memorable insight into Greek tragedy and its relevance in the modern world.  They enjoyed a powerful production and a superb opportunity to sample Ancient Greek tragedy, performed in the original language. 

In another new initiative for Ampleforth, we held our first Da Vinci day last week. This competition started in Australia and was introduced to us by Ampleforth maths teacher Piers Butler, a keen advocate who ran the event in another school before joining the College. The competition requires students to compete in teams of eight across ten disciplines, ranging from engineering to poetry, from code breaking to cartography. We were delighted to welcome visiting schools to join us for the inaugural Ampleforth event.  Some of our younger students have been preparing for months, with the hope of ultimately competing in the international competition in Italy, while some of our academic scholars in Years 9 and 10 formed scratch teams to compete on the day.

 It was wonderful to see such engagement from every student who was there for an exceptionally busy day of challenges across the curriculum, and we are already looking forward to a repeat performance, with even more competitors, next year. Congratulations to Dalbeattie High School, the winners, who were followed closely by our Year 10 scholars, with local school Ryedale in third place. Our Year 9 scholars also did well, winning the English round and coming first equal in the cartography round. Many thanks to all the teachers who put a considerable amount of time into making this such a successful event for the students involved – we look forward to the event becoming part of the Ampleforth tradition in the years to come.

Some of our Year 9 students are just back from an inspiring trip to Belgium, to the WW1 Battlefields.  History teachers Mrs Ramsden explains: ‘All Year 9 students had learnt about the First World War as part of their history course in the autumn term, and so many were keen to take this opportunity to see the locations at first hand and try to develop their understanding of what those involved had experienced.  The first of our days out took us into France, and the battlefields around the Somme.  We spent time at Vimy Ridge and Beaumont Hamel, understanding the role that troops from the empire played in the fighting, as well as visiting the huge memorial to the missing at Thiepval.  The size and scale of this monument brought home to many the reality of the casualty statistics they had previously read in class.  At Lochnagar crater, Mrs Rogerson led us all in a short service of reflection, allowing us to think about what we had seen at the end of the day.  Our second day was spent closer to home, in and around Ypres.  The day started with a visit to the grave of Noel Chavasse, the only man to be awarded the Victoria Cross and Bar in World War 1.  They had learnt about him in class, and were pleased to have the opportunity to pay their respects.   We were lucky that Charlie had brought his bagpipes and played Battle's O'er for us in the cemetery to allow us all a moment of poignant reflection.  Our day continued with visits to other cemeteries and museums.  Students really enjoyed the opportunity to walk through trenches and get an idea of conditions in the dugouts at the Passchendaele Memorial Museum and also at Sanctuary Wood.  We spent time visiting Tyne Cot, the largest Commonwealth cemetery anywhere in the world, and also the German cemetery at Langemarck.  Students spent time tracing their own relatives, and also reflecting on the differences in the way the countries commemorate their war dead.  It was not an entirely serious day, as students spent some time in Ypres, buying chocolate and looking around the rebuilt town.  To finish off our trip, we attended the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, where Lauren, Sebastien and Amabel laid a wreath on behalf of the staff and students of the College.  And so we returned to Ampleforth, with many memories and a much greater understanding of what World War 1 had really meant.’ Thank you to the history department, and in particular Miss Germany, for organising this trip for our youngest students.

On Monday, five Year 12 students from this year’s Young Enterprise team travelled to the Novotel in York to compete in the York area showcase – the first stage of the competition.

Although they didn’t progress to the next stage they had an excellent day with extremely positive feedback from the judges regarding their Social Enterprise – the first time one of our Young Enterprise teams has chosen to run their business in this way. The team opted to produce candles and lavender bags in order to fundraise for their bereavement boxes which are to be gifted to Martin House children’s hospice.

Congratulations to Seb Kilpatrick, the winner of the Armour Memorial Trophy and top cadet on the cadre course this year.

The BTEC Countryside Management students took part in a National Survey to assess the impact of climate change on heather moorland. This is an initiative run by the National Parks, for secondary school children. They took a number of measurements which were sent off to the University of Manchester for analysis.

Congratulations to our Equestrian Team on more excellent results, this time at Epworth Equestrian Centre. In the 80 cm Eventers Challenge class, the team of Tom Ray, Peter Pilling and Madison Chapman finished 4th overall. In the 90cm Eventers Challenge class, our team of Tom Ray, Peter Pilling, Madison Chapman and Louis Pern won the class, qualifying for the Eventers Challenge Final at Hickstead in May. Finally, in the 1m Elite Show Jumping class our team of Madison Chapman, Louis Pern and Alex Verth won the class, qualifying for the Finals at Hickstead in August.

It will be sad to say goodbye to the football season when we depart next week for the Easter holiday after so many successes achieved by the 1st XI team. 7 wins, 1 draw, and 2 losses is the current record, having scored 31 goals and conceded only 9. Their coach, Mr Fernandez, says, ‘We have managed to form a very close group of players from different age groups thanks to their effort and passion for the sport; and, as the first team coach, I am really glad to see how well they have progressed since we started. If you have not had the opportunity to witness Ampleforth’s best football team of the last few years yet, this Saturday’s game against Stonyhurst will be your last chance, come and support the team!’

Also, the latest Careers news and enrichment opportunities for students together with some competition news which may be of interest, to discuss with your son or daughter can be found here:

https://www.ampleforth.org.uk/college/news/careers-and-enrichment-news-0