School news: Ashford School pianists prizes, and more

James Short and Govind Dhiman

James Short and Govind Dhiman - Credit: Archant

News from school and colleges across the country. This month: Pianists’ triumph, Albert Burns Children’s Trust Fund awards, and more

Lasting legacy

Charities and groups which benefit children and their families in Kent are sharing a £28,000 windfall, thanks to the latest awards made by the Albert Burns Children’s Trust Fund, managed by Kent Community Foundation.

The Trust Fund was created in memory of Thanet businessman Albert Burns, who left instructions in his Will for his legal advisors Boys & Maughan Solicitors to create a lasting legacy for children. He particularly wanted to support smaller charities that don’t have the resources of the larger children’s charities.

This year’s awards have been made to the following organisations:

? Pegasus Playscheme, East Kent: to run its annual summer playscheme for disabled children and young adults aged eight to 25 and also provide a period of respite for the participant’s family and carers.

? Special Needs Advisory & Activities Project, Herne Bay: for days out for families with disabled children, helping them to access local mainstream events, activities and attractions that they would otherwise not be able to attend.

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? Home Start Canterbury & Coastal: for the Family Support Group: LETS PLAY! For parents and their children under five to practice physical activity, healthier lifestyles and family health and wellbeing through a variety of activities.

? Friends of St. Nicholas Special School, Canterbury: to part fund wheelchair accessible play equipment as part of a complete redevelopment of the outside play space.

? Demelza Hospice Care for Children, Sittingbourne: for the laundry upkeep in the hospice.

? The Aiden Goodwin Foundation, Bexley: to provide short breaks for children with cancer and their families.

Peerless pianists triumph

Two Ashford School pianists have won highly coveted prizes at the Kent International Pianoforte Course, which is directed by Mary Methuen.

This year’s course featured more than 20 young pianists who enjoyed masterclasses from the internationally renowned pianist, recording artist and presenter Noriko Ogawa as well as expertise from star of Classic FM Ji Liu and one of Britain’s foremost pianists Leon McCawley.

They were joined by regular experts including Stephen Dandridge, Head of Keyboard Studies at Ashford School, and Ruth Gerald, Principal Tutor and Emeritus Head of Keyboard Studies at the Royal College of Music.

There are several prizes on offer at the end of the three-day course, which is held at Tonbridge School, including Recital Prizes which were won by Ashford School’s Govind Dhiman and James Short.

Govind, 17, is now preparing for a recital at Bradbourne House in Sevenoaks where he will be joined by a student from a London music college. A pupil of Stephen Dandridge, Govind was a finalist in the Marlowe Young Musician of the Year 2015 and won the Kent Festival Young Pianist of the Year in 2013.

James Short, who has recently completed his ARCO practical (Associate of the Royal College of Organists) and is also a Kent Festival Young Pianist of the Year winner, was named the Most Outstanding Performer on the course.

James learns the piano with Stephen Dandridge and is hoping to win an organ scholarship to Oxbridge when he finished the Sixth Form at Ashford School.

Raising the roof

Spring flooded into Rochester as the sound of Carl Orff’s famous Carmina Burana filled the Cathedral during King’s Rochester’s largest concert to date.

Conducted by Director of Music, Douglas McIlwraith, and accompanied by a 100-strong Choir and the Orchestra Roffensis, professional singers, Laure Melroy (soprano), John Pierce (tenor) and Simon Thorpe (bass), raised the roof in a spectacular performance of this majestic piece.

The concert saw the debut of the King’s Rochester Chorus, which is made up of both current and former King’s pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school.

The packed audience was then delighted by a selection of popular arias by the internationally critically acclaimed singers. The school and cathedral also welcomed back former King’s music scholar Tabitha Reynolds (mezzo soprano), who returned to sing Elgar’s Sea Pictures.

Since leaving King’s Rochester in 2012, Tabitha, 22, has been studying at the Royal College of Music where she gained a full scholarship upon entrance.

Building bridges

Soldiers pitted their wits against schoolchildren during a day of bridge-building fun at the Royal Engineers Museum.

The fun day out of the classroom saw around 40 children from schools across Medway enjoying a range of talks and activities. It ended with an annual bridge building competition when soldiers competed against pupils as the lessons of the day were put to the test.

Youngsters from Warren Wood Primary Academy in Rochester were the overall winners, constructing a bridge capable of holding 7kg in weight. Second prize went to Riverside Primary, Rainham, and third place to Maundene Primary, Chatham. The winning schools were presented with certificates and a range of K’Nex equipment.

? Visit for further information regarding the Rochester Bridge Trust’s engineering education initiatives

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