OB Club News

OB Choir Trip to Venice 14th to 18th Dec 2017

On Thursday 14th December nineteen former pupils left Bristol airport for Venice to be joined by two flying from Heathrow later. The water taxis were there to meet us late in the evening to take us across the lagoon in an atmospheric mist to a canal near to Al Piave Hotel. This family run hotel where we had stayed two years ago had been closed from the beginning of December but opened up for our long weekend, and we are grateful indeed for their warm hospitality, and help. They enjoyed the fact that we occasionally rehearsed in the reception area.

Venice, 2017 Venice, 2017

Having had a late night (for some) in the welcoming bar opposite, Friday morning was a relaxed affair with groups going in different directions exploring the wonders of Venice, with some going over to the island of Burano – and we were very fortunate indeed to have really good weather, albeit cold. The new Chaplain of St George's Anglican Church met us late afternoon for us to rehearse for an hour or so and then after a short sojourn we met at the Basilica of St Mark's for the Mass at 6.45pm – a decent congregation, and wonderful acoustic for our a capella singing of 4 motets including Song for Athene by John Tavener. The priest came specially to congratulate us and a visiting professor of music from the UK was very enthusiastic, and he and his wife then came to the carol service on Saturday at St George's.

The following day again entailed a quiet start, rehearsal in the afternoon for the carol service, and then the Nine Lessons and Carols at 4pm. Two of our group read lessons, and one was given in Italian by the local parish priest from the Gesuati Church (where the school choir had sung a few years ago). It was a good sing for us – 8 carols and many congregational ones too with the usual descants and a very full church. It was good to meet up again with Christine Marigonda who has done so much for us over the years, and with Ivor Coward, the British Consul who has also been very supportive over the years, who offered to help with the Embassy in Rome should we want to go there in future.

Venice, 2017 Venice, 2017

Sunday was an early start for the morning service at St George's. This was an occasion for another outing for the Barlow Jazz Mass, and for Jess Atkins and Emma Nelson to look forward to top Bb's and Ab's in the Benedictus which they did magnificently. A quick turn round – but only after a few glasses of prosecco (if only English services ended in the same way!) and then we met at the San Zaccaria vaporetto stop near to the Doge's Palace to go to the Armenian island of San Lazzaro and a concert in the church there organised by the Sette Mari organisation (and we are grateful to Chris Wayman again for his help and support).

There, the concert was at 3pm so we had some time to get used to the vagaries of the organ and Chris Hamilton was excellent in taming it for the Central Orb, our first item. We had combined with a choir of adults from Murano who gave the first part of the programme – mostly Dowland and Monteverdi. Our programme continued with carols, including a solo from Jess Atkins and a duet from Bella Barlow and fiance Matt Ronchetti – A Crown of Stars, written by her. The concert was followed by a reception in the refectory – lots of panettone and prosecco. It was amusing towards the end of this reception when the Murano choir suddenly burst into another song, so we responded with Away in a Manger – it was suggested that we won! Then we left on the vaporetto at 5.25 but as we were waiting for the boat to arrive there was the most amazing sunset over the lagoon which was quite extraordinary.

Venice, 2017 Venice, 2017

This day, as previously, ended with a group meal – this time at the restaurant of A La Rivetta.

Monday was a time for a final wander through Venice, for getting lost perhaps again, and for absorbing the mesmeric atmosphere that is Venice. The water taxis collected us at 2.30 and we headed back across the lagoon in quiet, cold, sunny weather, with the Dolomite mountains clearly visible for our flight home which left on time and landed early.

It was an intense few days, but so good to have so many back with strong voices, musical intent, and wonderful singing doing justice to so much music, and these amazing venues. Those who heard us were very appreciative – the Sette Mari organisation told us that we made a great impression, and the hotel too appreciated our rehearsing there. The following email was from the Chaplain of St George's.

It was a real joy to meet you personally and the members of the choir. It is a delight to have the opportunity to meet up with the freshness, liveliness and self-confidence of younger people. ‘A taste of something good’, I might say.

On behalf of St George’s, can I express our thanks for adding to the Carol service and the Eucharist with rich music – something we could not provide for ourselves.

I hope the choir had a good time both singing and experiencing the extraordinariness of the city. Yes, I look forward to again meeting up with the Old Blundellians if they choose to venture to Venice again – which I hope they do even for the pre- Christmas period.

The Party: Jessica Atkins, Bella Barlow, Heather Barlow, Rosie Bruce, Alice Cadenhead, Rosanna Cole, Louisa Everett, Jessica Harvie, Emma Nelson, Rosalie Sanders, Katharine Sendell, Andrew Barlow, Tim Barlow, Ian Bruce, Will Coon, Sam Davenport, Callum Graham, Chris Hamilton, Jonathan Lane, Matthew Ronchetti, Toby Whitehead.

Blundell's Announces New Head

Blundell's Announces new HeadThe Board of Governors of Blundell's School, have today 13th November, announced that Mr Bart Wielenga has been appointed as the new Head of this leading co-educational day and boarding school. Mr Wielenga will take up the position with effect from September 2018.

Mr Wielenga will become the thirtieth Head of Blundell's School and will succeed Mrs Nicola Huggett when she leaves to become Head at Cheltenham College. Mr Wielenga is currently Second Master at Blundell's and has made a significant contribution to the growth and reputation of Blundell's in recent years.

Commenting on this announcement, Mr Cedric Clapp, Chair of the Board of Governors said:

"The opportunity to lead our school attracted an excellent field of candidates all of whom recognised Blundell's as a first class school that is flourishing. As a result of a rigorous interview process we are delighted to have appointed Bart Wielenga as our new Head following on from Nicola Huggett. We believe that the strength of our school lies in its ethos, its traditions and the education it provides for its pupils. We know that Bart will build on the fantastic achievements made under Nicola's leadership and take the school forward to the next exciting chapter in its long history. The market for independent education remains challenging but Blundell's is well placed and well-resourced to meet those challenges."

Bart graduated from the University of Natal in South Africa in 1994 after majoring in Economics and from the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg in 1996 with Post Graduate Honours majoring in Organisational Change. Prior to joining Blundell's, Bart taught at two leading schools - Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal followed by nine years at Wellington College in Berkshire where he was a Housemaster and Head of Economics.

On his appointment Bart commented, "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead Blundell's in the next stage of its history. The school is in excellent health, with numbers at an all-time high, with boarding flourishing and with exceptional academic success at Oxbridge level. It will be a privilege to build on the strong foundations that Nicola Huggett has set down. We are fortunate to have a dynamic and ambitious common room and I feel immensely proud to work with them to continue to help young people thrive in our beautiful Devon school".

OB Choir Trip to Prague 16th to 19th Dec 2016

OB group, on Charles Bridge in Prague

A group of Old Blundellian singers visited Prague for a long weekend just before Christmas. They were invited to sing for the morning service, and lead the Carol Service for the Anglican Chaplaincy at St Clement's Church, as well as for a short concert in the ancient church of St Martin in the Wall.

Arriving from Bristol, Gatwick and Edinburgh airports during the evening of 16th December we were all pleased to meet each other at breakfast the next day where old friendships were renewed and older OB's met younger ones. Christmas market in old squareThose from Bristol had had the opportunity of an early visit to the Old Square during the evening. After a rehearsal in one of the spacious bedrooms at the Charles Hotel – which was wonderfully situated only a few yards from the Charles Bridge – we ventured into Prague Old Town for our first performance in the wonderful acoustic space of St Martin's, after which we were invited back in a future year. We dispersed at lunchtime investigating the Christmas Market, chocolate museum, astronomical clock etc before meeting up to rehearse at St Clement's, where we met the chaplain, Ricky Yates who made us very welcome. An hour's rehearsal set us up for the next morning (and most of the evening). More free time allowed us to take in more of the amazing Christmas market as night descended and the huge Christmas tree appeared even more spectacular. Having booked at Va Bene restaurant we met there (again) in the evening. Prague castle and St VitusThe restaurant had set up a long table for all 17 of us in the extraordinary medieval vaults – a very convivial evening, after which we went in various directions, some to the jazz bar next to the Tyn church (and a bottle of Sekt), others for mulled wine in the Square. It was very atmospheric going back to the hotel over the now quiet Charles Bridge with the view of St Vitus and Prague Castle always in sight. A late night.

Sunday saw us all bright and early to an excellent breakfast and then to St Clement's – where we had a short wait for the Czech Protestant community to leave the shared church. Our performances of Wood's O Thou the central Orb, AHB's Jazz Mass, and music by Saint Saens (Ave verum) and Stainer (God so loved the world) in the communion were all very well received, and afterwards we were treated to refreshments. By this time we had been joined by Jana Rohova and her husband from Jihlava – Jana was the English teacher who set up our long relationship with the Gymnazium in Jihlava and it was a great pleasure to be able to take them out to lunch (Czech fare in a close by restaurant). Some ended up later at the Grand Hotel cafe for hot chocolate. The carol service featured some favourites – Poston, Rutter, Darke, AHB – and afterwards mulled wine and more food, before we went back to the hotel for a late meal in their restaurant. Here we met up with Vera, another English teacher from Jihlava – wonderful to see them all once more and a great privilege for us that they should come all the way to meet up.

Group photo on Charles Bridge     Dinner

"I hope that all of you who attended one or both of our services last Sunday, enjoyed them as much as I did. The Old Blundellians Choir were wonderful and added so much to our worship."

Monday morning sadly saw us depart in various directions having had a brilliant musical and sociable time.

OBC Committee Dinner Fri 2nd Dec 2016

The dinner was hosted by the Old Blundellian Club Chairman Richard Swarbrick (M 1977-82) and the Old Blundellian Club Committee. The dinner was held in honour of retiring Old Blundellian Club Committee President Martyn Grose and retiring Old Blundellian Club Committee Chairman Judge Paul Waterworth (NC 1958-52).

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Andrew Nadolski Book Launch Fri 4th Nov 2016

Andrew Nadolski launched his book 'Boarding School Blundell's 1986' on Friday 4th November in the Beale Centre. The book is a photographic snapshot of life as it was 30 years ago for pupils in boarding houses at Blundell's. Guests enjoyed drinks, canapes, brief speeches from Andrew, Alastair Deighton Gibson and the opportunity to look through the book. Memories were appropriately tickled and events blurred by the passage of time, recalled.

Copies of the book are available from Andrew’s website, via this link:
www.nadolski.com/blundell-s-1986.html

Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch Andrew Nadolski book launch

OB Sport Weekend Fri 18th, Sat 19th March 2016

A successful weekend of OB sport took place on the evening of Friday 18th and afternoon of Saturday 19th March. This included Football, Netball, Fives and Boy’s & Girl’s Hockey with a number of spectators enjoying the various matches. It was great to see so many players and spectators returning to the Beale Centre for complimentary refreshments with a chance to catch up with fellow peers. Thank you to all those who arranged the various teams and for contributing to the success of the weekend. Please see individual sport categories for reports and further photos.

OB Sports weekend 2016   OB Sports weekend 2016

OB Sports weekend 2016   OB Sports weekend 2016

Also see news of the OB fives, football, hockey and netball events.

OB Choir Trip to Venice 18th to 21st Dec 2015

OB Choir Trip to Venice, group

Friday

7am and the OB choir – a party of 19 meets in Gatwick South terminal ready for a flight to Venice. Two more were to join us later, after either working, or taking an exam. While some were only recently left others had left, but had kept in touch since 2000. Music was mostly familiar, though there were pieces that were unknown to some.

OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice

Rehearsal on Friday afternoon took place in St George's Anglican church for an hour and here we concentrated on material for St Mark's the next morning as well as pieces for the Nine Lessons and Carols at St George's the following evening. The choir was remarkably well balanced and quickly came together – even Tavener's Song for Athene, which had not been sung for several years. In the evening we all ate together in a restaurant we visited with the School Choir in 2013 – where we were remembered for the singing, and some of us remembered the Tiramisu ice cream.

Saturday

The San Marco service in St Mark's Basilica was at 11am – reasonable congregation, and hundreds visiting. Four pieces were sung – Poston, Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, Stainer, God so loved the world, Saint-Saens, Ave Verum and finally Tavener. This time we were in the body of the Basilica so were a capella. At the end one Italian shouted 'Bravo' – and it had been an excellent musical contribution in this extraordinary acoustic and wonderful building.

OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice

Everyone dispersed for lunch to meet up having explored shops, canals, and restaurants ready to rehearse for another hour for the Nine Lessons and Carols, Service on Sunday and concert on Sunday afternoon. OB Choir Trip to VeniceThis meant walking back over the Accademia bridge from where the view is very special.

Our practice was fortunately very efficient, enticed several to come into the church to listen, and besides the carols managed movements from the Jazz Mass (shock for Emma and Jess to discover they were to be producing a lot of very high notes the next morning), Stanford's Mag in C, and generally just enjoyed being together and singing, with Alex Everett playing the organ accompaniments which was brilliant.

Carol Service went well followed by some random singing in squares on the way back – even the police listened – and a great collective meal near our wonderful hotel. A lot of fun followed by all disappearing in various directions to try various bars – what a difference from a School trip.

Sunday

Sunday morning was another sunny, pleasant and cold day as we went back to St George's – a very good service, followed by wine and mince pies, and then after lunch we met at San Zaccharia to take the vaporetto to the Armenian island of San Lazzaro, met by Chris Wayman. The programme was sorted for the afternoon concert including one of Bella's songs, and solos by Emma and Jess besides those in the carols (Alex, Emma, Jess. Bella). The gentlemen of the choir did an excellent job of the 3 parts in Carter's arrangement of A maiden most gentle, aa well as Matt singing the verse in In the Bleak.

Following the concert, we were presented with a medallion which commemorated the Armenian genocide in 1915. There had been a special exhibition during the year for which the monastery had won a prize in the Art Biennale. This was given to us by the priest who had shown us round last time we visited, and who Jodie had met on her own trip to Venice in the summer.

OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice OB Choir Trip to Venice

OB Choir Trip to VeniceThis was followed by prosecco and panetone cake in the monastery refectory before we headed back to the vaperetto. It was very foggy and as the boat emerged from the gloom the choir was singing, ranging from Away in a manger to Goodnight Sweetheart! A great evening – which continued with our being entertained by the Sette Mari rowing club (who had organised the concert) in their amazing clubhouse – with red wine much in evidence, and some entertainment. WE had an excellent evening. We dispersed from here (we knew not where) and found our way through various alleys to a more populated square and dispersed – to explore more of late night Venice and meet up at breakfast the next day.

Monday

Monday was another cold day, and sadly our last, and we left for the airport mid-morning in our two water taxis. Arriving back at Gatwick it was agreed that we should do this again – and we dispersed (a few to meet again at Blundell's on Christmas Eve) to various parts of the UK, happy in a very musically, and socially worthwhile event which had exceeded expectations in all aspects. Thoroughly enjoyed it and was great to sing in a choir again like the old days. Various comments were received from members of the choir and from Venice.

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OB Choir Trip to Venice'Venice was beautiful and a real experience before Christmas. Great meeting everyone too, and really interesting how everyone instantly clicked based on their mutual Blundell's choir experience. Was awesome.'

'Everyone was most impressed with the choir and you. Maybe another year?' (Chris Wayman)

'It really was great to have you all with us and I hope fate may throw us together again at some point in the future.' (Rev Stuart Munns)

Our thanks are due to the family of Hotel Al Piave who made us very welcome, to Christine Marigonda of the Corcolo Italo Britannique who organised San Marco for us, to Rev Styart Munns who welcomed us to St George's and Hilary and David the church wardens, and to Chris Wayman and the Sette Mari for organising San Lazzaro and Sunday evening. We were grateful too for the help from Janet Wooff and Jonny Ison.

The Party

Jess Atkins, Jodie Atkins, Alexa Batting, Andrew Barlow, Bella Barlow, Heather Barlow, Will Coon, Will Costa, Sam Davenport, Alex Everett, Jacob Foan, Ed Nash, Emma Nelson, Rosanna Cole, Rosamund Harpur, Debbie Hosking, George Lyon, Matt Oddy, Katharine Sendell, Alex Steel, Leanne Weaver

Programme

Date Time Event
Friday 18th Dec 16:00 Rehearse St George's Church
Saturday 19th Dec 11:00 Mass in St Mark's
16:30 Rehearse St George's
18:00 Nine Lessons and Carols, St George's
Sunday 20th Dec 10:30 Service in St George's
15:30 Concert in the monastery of San Lazzaro

Old Blundellian Club Dinner27th Nov 2015

Old Blundellian Club Dinner held at The Officers’ Mess Royal Marines Commando Training Centre on Friday, 27th November 2015.

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Barlow & Smith release debut album of original holiday songs

Old Blundellian Annabel (Bella) Barlow (GH 1999-2006) is releasing her debut album with lyricist A.C. Smith. Shortlisted for the Kevin Spacey Foundation as Artists of Choice, as Barlow & Smith the pair are releasing their debut album of original holiday music on 20th November 2015, just in time for this year’s Christmas stockings!

Christmas in the City album posterFor any Old Blundellians in London, Barlow & Smith will be celebrating the launch of their debut album by hosting a Cabaret at The Pheasantry, Sloane Square for two nights only. The shows will take place on the 7th and 8th of December, doors open at 6.30pm and the show starts at8.30pm. Limited seating is available, so advance booking is recommended.

Featured guests will include Janie Dee (Monday only), Gary Wood (both nights), composer Tony Greenlaw (Tuesday only), and even a guest appearance from Andrew Barlow!

Cabaret tickets can be booked at www.pizzaexpresslive.com or on 0845 6027 017.

Pre-orders of Christmas in the City are available now on iTunes and on www.barlowandsmith.com.

And for a peek behind the scenes, you can check out a teaser video here:
http://www.barlowandsmith.com/videos

The digital 8-Track contains eight brand new songs in a variety of styles, and features a stellar line-up of vocalists including Ian Shaw, Brendan Reilly, Natalie Williams, and Polly Gibbons. Song styles range from the catchy “Wrote a Letter to Santa”, a Motown throwback where a man begs Santa to bring his true love, to the moving lullaby “Crown of Stars”, a nativity-inspired duet. The album ends with a bonus track from Barlow & Smith’s 2015 commission for Janie Dee at the Globe Theatre, a folksong suited to year-round listening.

It would be great to see some familiar faces in the audience!

All the best,

Bella (Annabel)

Bella Barlow, OB (1999-06): Kickstarter Campaign to raise money for production of a music album

Dear Old Blundellians,

It was great to see so many of you on OB Day and get to perform for you all after the luncheon! It was suggested to me that I should email fellow Old Blundellians who might be interested in my recording project.

Bella Barlow and A.C. SmithI was at Blundells from 1999-2006 (and a little while longer having grown up in the school!). I read Music at The University of Southampton and then went onto The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I recently performed at the Globe Theatre and wrote some of the music with my lyricist (A.C. Smith) for 2 x Olivier Award Winner Janie Dee. This last year has been an incredible journey for the two of us as our new writing duo Barlow & Smith, and we have just been shortlisted for the Kevin Spacey Award Artist of Choice.

Currently we have a Kickstarter campaign on the go and are raising funds for the recording of our new music. This will be our new EP "Christmas In The City" full of original Barlow & Smith music for the festive season - ideal for your Christmas playlist!

If you feel able to support us in this project, I would be really grateful.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/316004469/barlow-and-smith-christmas-in-the-city-ep?ref=discovery

Many thanks for taking the time to read this,

Bella Barlow

Balliol College Dinner 1st May 2015

Balliol Dinner 2015On Friday 1st May we celebrated the 400th anniversary of a definitive agreement which was put in place in 1615 for pupils of Blundell’s School to attend Balliol College, at our Blundell’s Community Balliol College Dinner. A special thanks to Professor Nick Dewey (School House 1944-50) for his advice and assistance in coordinating the Dinner, and to our two delightful speakers Cedric Clapp (Petergate 1960-65, Chairman of the Governors) and Jessica Mannix (Gorton House 1981-83, Current Governor) for such insightful speeches, reaffirming the strong connection between Balliol and Blundell’s. Thank you so much to all those who supported this event.

Balliol Dinner 2015   Balliol Dinner 2015

 

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