There may be a popular belief that school winds down as we approach the summer holidays, but if that’s true, it seems that the performing arts department missed the memo! Pupils have been showing off their talents and doing the school proud in a packed schedule of concerts and other events both in school and in the wider community.
The Wales Millennium Centre was the venue for a lunchtime concert featuring a variety of music performed by pupils from Years 7-13. With many of our pupils unavailable due to exam commitments, we were thoroughly impressed with the determination shown by some new Year 7 performers who stepped up for their first solo performances on a big public stage. Well done! On a personal note, we also saw the last outing for the current incarnation of the Sixth Form Choir. Many thanks to all of you for your amazingly hard work this year – you did me proud and I’ll miss those of you going on to pastures new.
Audience members made a point of coming up and congratulating the musicians, and I was surprised to be shaken warmly by the hand by several visitors from different parts of the USA who were amazed at the standard of performance they had witnessed. We hope to return to the WMC early next year.
You can watch the performance, courtesy of the WMC’s The Centre Connected catchup facility, by going here.
We welcomed our feeder primary schools to our contribution to the National CânSing Day for a second year. Mr Thomas gave all involved a high-energy workout for their voices, which hopefully gave plenty of inspiration for all involved.
Lucie-Anne Davies and Lowri Morris gave solo performances of the highest standard at our prize giving ceremony. The repertoire covered 18th century opera and musical theatre and really added something to this annual celebration of success. It’s fair to say that the sports hall here at Y Pant is far from an easy venue for performers, and both singers approached the challenge with a high level of professionalism, making a tricky task look easy.
The Eisteddfod is a quintessentially Welsh event which celebrates artistic and literary endeavour across many disciplines, so it was no surprise to see musical talent strongly represented among the various competitions. The eisteddfod is a Year 7 and 8 event, so it is usually ‘one to watch’ for people looking out for the next generation of musical stars at Y Pant. We have discovered several of our best performers here, and the high standard in both solo and group competitions suggest that we can look forward to many more years of filling concert programmes, despite saying goodbye to some top-quality Year 11 and 13 musicians this summer.
As part of their BTEC music course, a group of Year 12 students organised a charity concert at Pontyclun Athletic Club in aid of Velindre hospital, giving a platform to a large number of our young musicians (and performing themselves, of course!), and entertaining an audience large enough to require last-minute extra seating in the hall. Ex-pupils The Broadcasts kindly gave their time to end the concert with a rousing hour-long set which showed why they have been snapped up by a record label and booked for gigs all over the country, and at the end of the night everyone was astonished to find well over £1000 in the kitty to donate to a very worthy cause. Many congratulations to all involved!
Many of our events are well-established parts of the school calendar, but this year saw a new addition: our first Transition Music Day. This brought together instrumentalists from our feeder primary schools, who met young musicians from Key Stage 3 at Y Pant. An intensive morning of rehearsals meant that new friends were made, and the 107 performers took to the stage after lunch to give a short concert to friends and family. We hope to see most if not all of the Year 6 pupils who attended continuing their instrumental lessons once they join us in September. Although leaving scheduled lessons once a week to have an instrumental lesson can mean having to catch up work, this is more than outweighed by the huge positive effect that learning an instrument (or singing) has been proven to have on young people’s physical and mental development. Please contact the school for further details of our instrumental/vocal provision. Our grateful thanks go to everyone at the RCT Music Service who helped make this event possible. Not only do they provide our instrumental/vocal tuition, but also organise a variety of choirs, orchestras and other groups outside of school, which are vitally important for the development of the next generation of young musicians. I cannot recommend them enough for anyone who is serious about becoming a musician.
Ex-pupil Rebecca James, now an up-and-coming singer in London, joined us to open the second Y Pant Summer Fete, and kicked off a packed programme of open-air performances. Seasoned musicians and new arrivals alike entertained the crowd all afternoon.
So, is it time for the music teachers to put the kettle on and take a well-earned rest? Not quite.
We have another Year 12-organised BTEC charity concert, this time in the main hall. Tickets available on the door, lots of excellent performers!
Our annual farewell assembly will, of course, feature some excellent musical contributions to send the school off with a smile.
Thanks to everyone for their support as always, and we look forward to another packed year in September. Have a great summer!
We were delighted to take part in the Pontyclun Music Festival at Bethel Baptist Church on Friday. It was a concert of firsts, with three of our six soloists performing for the school in public for the first time. The six varied solo items – ranging from show songs to operatic arias – were well-received by an enthusiastic audience, and the sixth form choir performed three pieces which showcased their skills in a capella singing and harmony. Year 13 music veterans Olivia Chappell, Jack Hayes and Arran Watt presented three pieces to their usual excellent standard, which had members of the sixth form choir dancing backstage, much to the amusement of the rock choir with whom we were sharing the bill!
We would like to thank our friends at Bethel Baptist Church for yet another warm welcome, and the organisers of Pontyclun Music Festival (especially Mr Jeff Woodington) for their kind invitation to participate.
The Performing Arts department has a packed schedule of ten performances this term, with eight still to come at the time of writing. Venues include the Muni Arts Centre, the Wales Millennium Centre as well as Y Pant itself, of course. We hope to see you on our travels!
The IT department is really excited about the 10 new Raspberry Pi computers we have in school. However the plan is not to use them a great deal in lessons but to lend them out to students (and staff!) to take home and experiment with!
The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that can do anything your laptop can do – and more. Learn some programming, try out some hardware hacking projects. We’ve got full kits to lend to people.
If you’d like to find out more come along to Room 1 on Monday lunchtimes.
Despite the torrential downpours, four year ten students competed with un-dampened spirits in the ESU Public Speaking Competition on Monday. Debating a topic that may be controversial among many Y Pant students, the team argued that computer games have ruined the youth of today. In a fierce battle with other secondary schools in the Rhondda Cynon Taff, Y Pant students excelled and left many of their competitors tongue tied.
After weeks of rehearsals, Megan Brown, Juliet Johns, Daniel Evans and Dylan Bellis initiated a ferocious debate at Treorchi Comprehensive School. The students were praised by the judges and fulfilled their roles excellently. Megan Brown was captivating as the speaker and won the award for ‘Best Speaker’, Juliet Johns chaired with charisma and allure, and Daniel Evans was the intense questioner and won ‘Best Questioner’ in the competition.
The English department would like to thank the students involved for all their hard work and for representing the school so confidently. Judges and teachers alike were captivated by the calibre of the students and the future of debating at Y Pant School looks very bright indeed.
On 23rd November, next Friday, myself and fellow Year 13 student Ben Hopkins will be traveling to London to take part in a UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) Debate in the House of Commons. The UKYP are a group of people aged between 11-25 from all over Britain who come together to give the big wigs in Parliament the views of young people on everything that the Government does and this year they are hosting a series of debates in the House of Commons to discuss which one change they will campaign for over the next year. The choices are:
Making public transport cheaper, better and more accessible for all
Equal marriage for all
Introducing an equal national minimum wage
Getting ready for work
A curriculum to prepare us for life
Once everybody in the debate has voted on which change they would like to be made, the winner is announced and a huge publicity campaign is launched. This is your chance to get your voice heard!
If you have something to say, comment on this post or come and see me or Ben around school. Hopefully we will be gathering some information from your Student Parliament Form Reps next week too so you could also tell them. All of the debates will be streamed live on BBC Parliament but assuming that you’ll all be in school you can record the debates or you can catch up on iPlayer.
This is your chance to make a difference: make your opinion count!
Despite the ill omens of Friday 13th, the English department hosted a very successful debate competition for EAT (extremely able and talented) pupils from our Year 6 Primary Schools. Pupils from our cluster have visited the school on several occasions this year to develop their ability to think critically and speak confidently. The event saw these Year Six pupils battling against Year Seven pupils in a ferocious attempt to win, not only their individual debates but, the coveted prizes of Best Speaker and Best Overall Team.
The occasion itself promoted oracy, collaborative learning and critical thinking: skills that the EAT pupils involved excelled in. It further strengthened Y Pant’s transitional links with primary schools and we were mightily impressed by what was on show! Students displayed their excellent research, speaking and listening skills and the competition was fierce. With a number of propositions put forward, the judges were captivated by the calibre of the students and the future of debating at Y Pant School looks very bright indeed.
Staff were delighted to see such great support from parents who attended the event and would like to extend their thanks for their continued involvement and support. A huge thank you must also be given to Mr Howells for his outstanding effort and contribution to the debating team over the last six years. The school is undoubtedly in a much better position now thanks to his hard work and innovation, and he will be sorely missed. We look forward to debating against Evelyn Grace (Mr Howells’ new school) in the near future.
Choir is run by Mr Thomas and is a great place to go if you love to sing. They have performed some great shows this year including two Christmas concerts, a Disney concert and at the OAP’s Christmas party. If you have singing lessons in school, you are required to go to choir, but you if don’t have to have singing lessons you can still join the choir. It’s run on Tuesday lunchtime.
Band is great if you play an instrument, as you can play amongst your friends and participate in concerts. It improves your sight reading and your musical ear. The school orchestra has also been involved in many performances such as the Christmas concerts, and the year sevens have even managed to perform for year 6s! Like choir, if you have instrument lessons you must attend orchestra! It’s run on Wednesday lunchtime.
Theory club is the newest of the clubs and has only been running for a few weeks. It’s run by Mr Breeze and if you are planning on getting higher than grade 5 on your instrumental grades then you need to do theory. If you’re thinking of starting then you need to get a book. Ask Mr Breeze for details. It’s run on Thursday lunchtimes.
After more than an hour of tedious waiting in Howell’s Girls School, in a room too small to cage a group of wound up, opinionated, teenage debaters, the highly anticipated judges of the Oxford Debate Union competition finally decided to arrive. The cancellation of one of the two debates due to the late start meant that hopeful teams had only one chance to prove themselves in hope of securing a place in the finals. Oh the pressure!
Easier said than done when you have to argue in favour of the motion: “This house would enforce 100% inheritance tax.” Inheritance tax?! Turns out that if 100% inheritance tax was enforced, it would mean that after your death everything that you owned would go straight to the government and not to your family. How terrible would that be? Especially terrible when you only have 15 minutes to think of arguments in favour it!
But, after 15 minutes that went far too quickly, James Watt and Amy Jones (year 13); Zoe Fullbrook and Kristin Bryce (year 11) and Matthew Knight (year 13) and Martha Reed (year 12) all left to engage in battle. A verbal slaughtering of course!
We all agreed that it was an extremely interesting and exciting debate which saw Britain’s class system, work ethics and morality come under close analysis but congratulations go to Amy and James who, for the fourth year running, got through to the finals along with Howell’s Girl’s School and Monmouth School.
Y Pant School has been seriously participating in debating competitions all across the UK for the past 4 years, but this year for the first time ever a pupil of Y Pant School represented Wales on a truly international scale. On the 15th of January, Amy Jones (Year 13) traveled to Cape Town, South Africa as part of the Welsh team to compete in the World Schools Debating Championship against 47 other teams from across the globe. The Hollow recently caught up with Amy to ask her about her experience of the competition.
How did you feel about going to South Africa to compete, and how did you prepare?
“After they initially told us that we were on Team Wales, I felt quite daunted knowing we were going to be up against 47 other teams that are world class standard, but we did a lot of training before we went out there, we did a lot of consecutive training weekends in Cardiff with our coach Harry Thomas, and our team manager Beth who works for CEWC Cymru, which is the organization that ran the team. When it came to going to South Africa we were feeling fairly prepared.”
How was this competition different from your previous experiences of debating?
“It was a different format, because before the competition I was used to doing British Parliamentary style, and the World Schools debating championship is run under a different style which is “World schools style” which is longer speeches, with more people on the teams and more preparation time. There’s also a lot more emphasis on extending the analysis within your arguments; in British Parliamentary you have fifteen minutes to prepare your speeches, and four minutes to present those arguments and that’s it. In World School’s style you have eight minute speeches so the judges expect a much deeper level of analysis and you have an hour to prepare your arguments.”
So how did you get do in the end?
“The competition is made up of preliminary round and then a knock out tournament between the top 15 placed teams after the first round. We came 7th out of 48 and then went on to the knockout rounds. In the knockout rounds we competed against India, Ireland and England to proceed to the Grand Final against Scotland. Unfortunately, we lost to Scotland in the final but debating in the largest Cathedral in Cape Town was an amazing experience.”