News and Achievement

On 5th February 24 students from Abbs Cross AX Voices choir went to perform in a concert like no other. Joined by 8,000 children from schools across London and the South East, AX voices sung at the O2 accompanyingTony Hadley of Spandau Ballet and Rutti; the winner of The Voice.

Students had been practising a range of repertoire including musical medleys, a Queen medley, a traditional African Spiritual and some pop songs and a few pieces written especially for the occasion.

It was a busy day with a 3 hour afternoon rehearsal before the evening show. The students were, as always, an absolute credit to the school and the department.

In November 2019, Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College were lucky enough to host an Indonesian Dance and Music workshop, along with Sundanese art projects, produced by SMKN 10 Bandug, called Ngajomantara, (lit. Going Global).

Dance Drama and Music students across year 9 and 10, were able to experience a combination of traditional Sundanese culture, with a modern touch, through a four hour workshop, led by students from SMKN 10 Bandung, a state vocational high school for the arts and creative industries located in Bandug, Republic of Indonesia.

The workshop was exhilarating, full of fun fill knowledge and activities, for all to enjoy – finishing with a merged performance of Dance and Music. Our students shared their performance skills, performing GCSE sequences and sets and then observed traditional choreography and music from our Indonesian visitors.

Thank you to all of our visitors, who made the workshop wonderfully creative and memorable.

On Wednesday 16th October Abbs Cross music department welcomed Nimrod Margalit, a specialist in Israeli and Eastern Mediterranean music to run a GCSE workshop. Greek, Israeli and Palestinian music is new to the GCSE music specification and to be able to learn from a musician brought up in that culture was an extremely valuable experience. Students took part in performance, composition, improvisation and were fully immersed in the culture. Listening examples and creating GCSE revision resources also formed part of the session. In addition to our students benefiting we were able to invite GCSE pupils from the trust school The Warren to join the experience. The pupils performed, composed and were able to benefit from each others experiences.

On Tuesday 1st October GCSE and prospective GCSE Music students from years 9-11 took part in a mixing workshop at Havering College.

The session was based around an element of the GCSE theory paper; the use of electronic FX enhance performances in post production.  Students were taught about 4 of these FX; reverb, vocoder, delay and autotune, how to recognise them aurally as well as the effect and purpose of applying them.   Students were then given a "dry" R 'n' B track made up of just vocals, piano and a basic drumbeat.  They used the FX they had learnt along with the skills they've developed in lessons to create their own "mixdown" of the track.

Students changed the tempo, added samples, recorded their own additional drum tracks and added vocoder, autotune, reverb and delay to create a whole new version of the track.  This insight means that students will not just have been able to aurally recognise them but also to apply them and have a full understanding of their impact.

After they completed their mixdowns students had a tour of the creative arts building where they were able to see the range of digital and analogue studios, performing arts areas and teaching spaces.  Beyond this they visited the TV studio where BBC Music film all their "introducing" sessions and had a chance to see the college radio broadcasting station.

The trip provided an insight into studying music and the creative arts beyond GCSE with a look at the types of facilities and equipment that students may use in college and when working at industry level.

Year 11 student:  "It was great to get hands-on experience using the FX and to see industry level equipment.  To have it taught in such an interactive way means that I won't forget it.  It also made me think far more about my future."

Monday 1st July - a date not to be missed.  Battle of the Bands took to the stage, for an evening of exceptional performances.

This is the twelfth Battle of the Bands event to take place on the Abbs Cross Academy stage.

The two hosts, Daniel and Jasper kept the audience entertained and informed, in-between the 11 bands, who wowed the audience of over 150!  The contestants ranged from year 7 to 11, who performed live, with instruments and vocals; including bass, guitar, ukulele, drums, keyboard, Cajon and tambourine.

This year’s judges were Mr O’Brien (Teacher of English) who entered the stage to the fantastic ‘We Will Rock You’, Mr O’Shea (Director of Humanities) and our guest judge, Lisa Houghton, teacher of Music from Havering College.

We were also lucky enough to experience a guest performance from ‘The Echoes’, who returned to Abbs Cross Academy to perform three amazing tracks – one original!  It was a privilege and inspiration to see Connor, Ethan, Harry and Aaron perform once again on our stage.

There were so many excellent live performances from groups, trios and duets, all singing and playing ballads, rock and pop songs, competing for the title of ‘Audience’s Winner 2019’ and ‘Judges’ Winner 2019’.

This year’s Battle of the Bands Winners were:

  • Audience Winner: The Lefties

O   Finnley, Joe and Connor

  • Audience Runner Up: RNA

O   Rume, Naomi and Abigail

  • Judges Runner Up: Samedi Matin

O   Alicja, Matthew and Finnley

  • Judges Winner: Year 9 Duo

O   Rume and Thu

All of the contestants showed confidence, flair, uniqueness and talent.  Well done and thank you to all of Battle of the Bands acts.  A summary of the judges’ comments can be seen below:

  • Charred Cross-: Excellent punk rock energy, skilled instrumental performance and excellent pitching and vocal tone.
  • KAS: Unique combination of pop contemporary vocals, developed piano skills and rhythmically solid. Confident contrast through vocals (rap and song).
  • Ryan and Joe: Well-rehearsed material, entertaining and strong performances skills. Complex piano playing, with complex rhythms, melody and chord played with the Cajon.
  • RNA: Excellent focus on the vocal and piano parks, playing in syncopation and singing on the beat, unique change of dynamic and tempo, showing good performance skills.
  • The Lefties: Incredible performance skills throughout, drummer shows individual flair, bleeding heart front man and rock and roll bassist, very solid and essential vocal harmonies.
  • Storm 38: Strong dynamic qualities throughout, super-fun and rock energy was palpable – clear rapport between drummer and vocalist/guitarist, adding to quality of the performance.
  • Merged: Really well blended vocal performance, fun and polished, performed with excellent band rapport! The drummer was particularly fantastic with clockwork rhythm!
  • Year 10 Girls: Lovely stripped back performance with very controlled vocals – clearly listening to one and other and working with one and others strengths and skills – extremely talents.
  • AX Young Voices: A blended and controlled choir with spot on harmonies – lovely backing band and a super solid performance with confidence and enjoyment throughout.
  • Samedi Matin: Great introduction, power and vocals, blended with funk and groove, perfected and balanced as a group – energy high throughout.
  • Year 9 Duo: Very accomplished piano performance with beautifully pitched vocals, extremely emotional and impressive controlled range and connection with the audience.

A huge thank you also needs to go to the Performing Arts Team – Mr Knights (Technician), Ms Lyus (Teacher of Music), Miss Clark (Teacher of Drama) and Mr Osborn (Teacher of Music) for assisting back stage with all of the instruments, amps and technical malfunctions.

Miss L Monaghan

CTL of Performing Arts

GCSE Music Year 10 and year 9 prospective GCSE Music students, were lucky enough to participate in a music workshop, led by 'Music Teachers 4 Schools'.

Students worked for 2 hours, using multiple percussion instruments, including the 'tabla'.  Students learned the 'raag' (or raga), which is the melodic framework for improvisation within Indian classical music.  Student were able to experiment with the notes provided by Michael, creating melodic structures with musical motifs, considered  in the Indian traditions to have the ability to affect the emotions of the audience, drawing them in and allowing for enjoyment and curiosity.

All of the participating students loved the workshop and were able to record their group performance of the raag, impressing staff and visitors alike, through instrumental improvisation skills and team work.

Michael Broad who ran the workshop said 'The students at Abbs Cross were a credit to the Academy and to yourself [Mrs Jethwa].  Their behaviour was exemplary and all students participated enthusiastically with the workshop.  The students were confident enough to take risks and were happy to share their musical ideas with other students in the group.'

Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College's Music Department would like to thank 'Music Teachers 4 Schools', for visiting our academy and providing such an insightful and interesting performance Indian workshop.

Miss L Monaghan

(CTL of Performing Arts)

Elm Park Primary joined Abbs Cross Academy’s matinee performance on Monday 25th November.  Performances from dance, drama and music entertained the crowd, highlighting our talented year 7 to 11 students. The evening performance was a sell out and all performances were outstanding.  Dance, drama and music acts took to the stage with professionalism and confidence, entertaining a very enthusiastic audience! Thank you to all of the acts involved in both the matinee and evening performance, it was a truly spectacular evening, one that was enjoyed by so many. Thanks to the staff involved, supportive parents, carers and guardians and a special thanks goes to Joe (Year 11 Music) and Kian (Year 11 Dance), for assisting with equipment, set and technical prompts throughout both shows. We are yet to calculate tickets sales, which will go to Performing Arts chosen charity ‘Save The Children: Christmas Jumper Day’, for 2019.   Matinee Performances:  
  • ‘Snow White’ - AX Dance Company
  • ‘DNA’ – Year 10 Drama
  •       'Mental Awareness' - Kiera, Jessica, Thu and Alicja
  • 'Somewhere' - Ellie-Mae
  • ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ - Year 7 and 8 Drama Club
  • ‘Shallows’ – Amy and Charlie
  • ‘ICONs’ - AX Jnrs
  • ‘Hold Me While You Wait’ - Charlie
  • ‘FAME’ - Sarah and Ruby
  • ‘Three Little Pigs’ - Year 7 and 8 Drama Club
  • ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ - Joe, Amy and Finn
  Evening Performances:  
  •       'Strictly Fever' - Year 7 and 8 Dance Club
  • 'Mental Awareness' - Kiera, Isabelle, Thu and Alicja
  • ‘Larger Than Life’ - AX Young Voices
  • ‘Batucada’ - Kian, Isabelle, Izzy and Tilly
  • 'Somewhere' - Ellie-Mae
  • ‘Polar Express’ - Emma Brooke
  • ‘The Gentleman’s Jacket’ - Lily, Bethany, Mali and Brooke
  • ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ - Year 7 and 8 Drama Club
  • ‘ICONs’ - AX Jnrs
  • ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ - Priscilla
  • ‘FAME’ - Sarah and Ruby
  • ‘Running’ - Rume
  • ‘DNA’ – Year 10 Drama
  • ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ - Joe, Amy and Finn
  • ‘Higher Love’ - Year 7 and 8 Dance Club
  • ‘Hold Me While You Wait’ - Charlie
  • ‘CATS’ - Aimee and Ciara
  • ‘Three Little Pigs’ - Year 7 and 8 Drama Club