12 November 2018
A world-renowned conductor has returned to her roots to open an inspiring new Performing Arts Centre in Monmouth.
Professor Jane Glover CBE, who has conducted at prestigious venues across the world, including the Royal Opera House and Metropolitan Opera of New York, opened the state-of-the-art building at Monmouth School for Girls on Friday (9th November).
The illustrious former pupil was among the audience for a spectacular concert, which showcased the breadth of musical talent across the school, in the acoustically outstanding new recital hall.
The memorable evening heralded a new era at Monmouth School for Girls with new Director of Music, Mr Derek Harris, taking the baton for the first time since his arrival.
It also saw professional pianist, Catherine Milledge, a pupil at the school from 1988 to 1995, dazzle on the new Steinway grand piano.
Professor Glover said: “I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the new building, its practicality and the scope. “The quality of the music that we heard during the concert was so encouraging.
“I love to watch young people make music together and it was a lovely evening.
“Music will always push through if the talent is there but to have these circumstances and surroundings is fantastic.”
Part of the school’s 125th anniversary programme, the Performing Arts Centre is housed over three spacious floors and is linked to the existing theatre at stage and hall level.
Professor Glover said: “Monmouth is a beautiful place with so much going for it. To have this wonderful Performing Arts Centre is superb and I can’t congratulate the school enough for doing it.
“I can think of institutions in London that would love to have something like this.”
The evening of music-making included Xiaoli Biggs’ recital of Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu on the piano and Jocelyn Lo’s remarkable recital, from memory, of Copland’s The Cat and the Mouse.
The Chamber Choir delivered The Lily and the Rose beautifully and the Concert Choir followed with Lullabye (Billy Joel, arr J Wikeley).
The Junior Singers lit up the hall with the enchanting Sing With Me (Mac Huff) which culminated in the Chamber Choir taking their place in the viewing gallery above as all three choirs combined for a stunning and powerful finale.
A new home to the Music Department and with a Dance and Drama studio on the top floor, the Performing Arts Centre also includes nine peripatetic rooms, a rock room, a large ensemble room, a dance and drama studio, teaching rooms, a large technical/computer room, offices, a staff room, toilets and a locker room.
“Children at Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools have a wonderful environment to develop a passion for music, theatre and dance in the new Performing Arts Centre,” said Acting Head, Mr Tom Arrand.
“Professor Jane Glover is an inspiration to us all and I am sure that our new building will allow pupils to fulfil their artistic ambitions for the next 100 years at least.”
Architect, Mrs Victoria Turner, an Associate Director of Levitt Bernstein, said: “It has been a privilege to have worked with the school so closely on this exciting project.”