Opening of The Scott Music Centre

Wednesday 13th June 2018

Saturday 9 June was a day of celebration at Queen Anne’s School in Caversham as ‘The Scott Music Centre’ was officially unveiled.

Joining students, parents, staff and the building’s architects, Edgington Spink and Hyne, at the grand opening were special guests Miss Audrey Scott, Queen Anne’s School Headmistress from 1977 to 1993 of whom the music centre is named after, and Debbie Wiseman OBE, a British composer for film and television.

Guests were taken on a guided tour of The Scott Music Centre visiting the new facilities available to students at Queen Anne’s School, including: sound-proofed practice rooms, MAC suite, music offices and the beautiful ensemble space for smaller performances. Additionally, there is a new music hall attached to the music centre, named The Taylor Hall in memory Queen Anne’s Alumnae Jean Mary Taylor, who studied at the school from 1946 – 1950 and sadly passed in 2014.

Miss Audrey Scott has a passion for music that started at school and, even today, she takes music lessons every Monday. She was a strong advocate for music during her time at Queen Anne’s, realising the need for a dedicated music centre.  Her continuous support for music at the school, since her retirement, has been an inspiration to us and we were honoured when she agreed to the naming of the new music centre.

We heard first from Julia Harrington and Sue Laing, the outgoing Chair of the Development Board.  Both emphasised the role that donations had played in the completion of the new centre and thanked everyone for their support, notably the Development Board, Governors and Trustees.  The success of The Scott Music Centre has firmly established philanthropy at Queen Anne’s.

Our guest speaker was Debbie Wiseman OBE. With more than 200 credits for film and television, including: Wolf Hall, Judge John Deed, Wilde, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and the Andrew Marr Show. Debbie is a visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, regularly giving masterclasses to schools and colleges about the art of composing music for picture. She spoke of her love of music and composing since she first saw an upright piano on holiday at the age of seven, and passionate about the important role music plays in our emotional well-being, as well as the development and retention of cognitive and memory skills.

All of the new facilities are at the heart of Queen Anne’s School, where music belongs, and will be thoroughly utilised by students. There is an understanding of the importance in sharing such fantastic facilities with the local community; Director of Music, John Padley explains “We now have a great relationship with Berkshire Maestros hosting Caversham Music Centre, children will be able to take music lessons from beginner through to Grade 5 on selected instruments on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from September 2018.” You can find out more via www.berkshiremaestros.org.uk

Mr Padley continued “Our partnership with St Anne’s RC Primary School in Caversham continues to grow, a few weeks ago we were able to donate a wide range of percussion instruments for classroom music-making. We will also be giving them a set of music stands to replace their very old stock”.

When speaking about the opening of The Scott Music Centre, Mr Padley addressed to the audience “This is a crucial time for the arts in education, in particular music. We are investing in our girls’ future by not narrowing their horizons as the EBacc does, but broadening them by offering them the skills of performing, confidence, pursuit of excellence and also what music can offer to their wellbeing. These are essential skills for life”.

The girls should also commended for their noticeable performances on the day. Demonstrating the new instruments were Lizzie D (4) and Anna Marie P (L4) who performed solo piano pieces. Anastasia D (L6) played beautifully on the violin, whilst Eleanor P, Lucy G and Astrid P (all in the U5) performed a six hand – one piano piece. Our fantastic singers; Amelia J (L4), Maddie D (4), Olivia F (4), Serena C (U4), Caitlin V (U4), Grace W (U4), Pasha A (U4) performed solo pieces and duets brilliantly together to compliment the day. Meanwhile, in the new Laing Macsuite the students demonstrated film composition.