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RSA Dance Company performing at Mass Movement!

Congratulations to RSA Dance Company

The RSA Dance Company has been selected to perform by UDance in Mass Movement 2016. This is a regional showcase of performers who have to audition to a panel of professionals artists who then choose the best companies to perform.


This is a fantastic achievement for Robert Smyth dancers as we are only one of two state schools to have been selected out of ten places. We will be performing alongside Studio 79 and Curve Dance Company!

Mass Movement is on Sunday 7th Feb at 7.30pm and tickets are currently available from the Box office at Curve theatre here.


This is the routine that they will be performing!

RSA Christmas Concert

front cover

RSA Christmas Concert

The annual RSA Christmas Concert was held on Tuesday 1st December in the Main Hall to a full house. The concert featured all 11 academy ensembles: String Ensemble, Advanced Brass Group, Flute Ensemble, Flute Quartet, Saxophone Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Versatile Voices Choir, Folk Group, Big Band, Jazz Band and Soul Patrol. In addition the AS Music class performed one of their set AS analysis pieces ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’ by Jimmy Cliff. There were a number of A level soloists and small group items that had been chosen through audition: AS Music student and pianist Andrew Martin’s highly expressive and technically flawless performance of Debussy’s Clair de Lune was a real highlight of the evening. A2 Music student Georgia Whittle also impressed with her vocal performance of Finding Wonderland, arranged for strings, brass and rhythm section by her and Jake Bentley. The piano trio, featuring Lachlan Lindsay, Emily Newlyn and Andrew Martin, also produced a highly polished and professional performance whilst a Year 12 band featuring Ellis Barthorpe, Will Ashley, Bryn Williams, James Milsom and Ross Barnett entertained with one of their original songs.

The Programme for the concert can be viewed here

Platinum for the Big Band – again!

NCBF platinum

Many congratulations to the RSA Big Band who achieved a Platinum Award at the Midlands regional round of National Concert Band Festival held at Nottingham High School on Sunday 15th November.  This is an outstanding achievement especially considering that more than half of the players are new to the band this term and this was therefore their first public performance with the Big Band.  In their 15-minute programme the band performed three pieces which featuring no less than 7 different soloists, all marked with * in the list below.


The two adjudicators, who are both professional jazz musicians themselves, were very impressed with the band – see comments below; for a full adjudication report you can also click on the uploaded files below.


As the band achieved the top award they have been invited to the National Festival which takes place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April.  Well done to all the players for their fantastic achievement:


  • Andrew Martin* – flute
  • Alex McCarthy* & Jane Earland – alto saxes
  • Esme Butler Davies* & Emily Moore – tenor saxes
  • Holly Barnett – baritone sax
  • Molly Sykes*, Maddie Oakland & Josh Watson – trumpets
  • Joe Horspool* & Tom Jenkins – trombones
  • Taylor Burton* – piano
  • Jake Cartwright* – guitar
  • Jake Bentley – bass guitar
  • Jonny Nicholson – drum kit
  • Lyle Burton – auxiliary percussion



To listen to the performance, please visit our Academy website for the time being  here.


  • ‘What Were You Thinking’ by Chris Sharp, featuring Esme Butler Davies (tenor sax) and Joe Horspool (trombone)


  • ‘My Funny Valentine’ by Richard Rodgers arr. Mike Smukal, featuring Molly Sykes (trumpet) and Alex McCarthy (alto sax)


  • ‘Back to the Basement’ by Erik Morales, featuring Taylor Burton (piano), Andrew Martin (flute) and Jake Cartwright (guitar)



Adjudicators’ Feedback:


“What Were You Thinking”


Confident opening. Nice balance and good sound in each section. Good dynamics and intonation.

Nice tenor solo. Great sound. Just be careful backings don’t slightly overpower solo. Good trombone. Nice sound and solo comes across well.

Nice to hear a baritone sax!

Good feel to the rhythm section. Nice feel all the way through. Well played. Good sounding band.


“My Funny Valentine”


Be careful with intonation in the introduction. Lovely sound from the trumpet. Very nice. Band could maybe play a touch quieter so the solo doesn’t get overpowered. Nice sax solo. I would suggest taking the band (ensemble) dynamics down one notch to play with soloist. Nice feel to bossa nova. Again watch dynamics. Lovely playing all the way through from soloist. Very nice.


“Back to the Basement”

Nice start with a good sound. Sax section plays well. Nicely in tune. Good section playing from trumpets of the melody too.

Nice piano solo. Some lovely touches.

Great to have a flute solo!! Good sound, well played.

Nice guitar. Well played all solos. Good build to bring solo section to an end. Great sounds from every section. An exciting and well played performance. Well done everyone.

NCBF Adjudication Comments


Market Harborough Christmas Light Switch-On Event

Xmas Lights Switch On 2015 - 6

On Friday 27th November the Jazz Band and Soul Patrol had been invited by Harborough Council and HFM to perform at the annual Christmas Light Switch-On Event in the Main Square.  There were various primary schools performing from 4.00 pm whilst Soul Patrol was the Headlining act, performing from 5.45 pm – 6.20 pm with the Light Switch-On taking place at 6 pm. It was the band’s first public performance this academic year and they were very well received by the organisers and the general public. Unfortunately the rain started pouring down very heavily during the Soul Band set and the Jazz Band could therefore not perform for health and safety reasons.

Xmas Lights Switch On 2015 - 9

Performing Arts Newsletter Issue 9

We have released our most recent Performing Arts Newsletter!

The Performing Arts newsletters detail everything we have done in the faculty over the last term.


The latest edition can be downloaded or viewed here.

GCSE Music Concert VII

Thursday 15th October saw the return of our GCSE Music Concert series. Featured as part of the Academy’s ‘Arts week’, the concert saw a packed out Max enjoy an eclectic mix of styles and performances. This concert saw a first for the GCSE Music Concerts; we began with a class performance from a year 10 class. This is the first time this has happened at the first concert of the year! The class was our Edexcel class performing one of the set works they study, ‘All Blues’ by Miles Davis. This is a complex piece featuring heavily extended chords and containing improvisation at its core. Our improvised soloists in the performance were Tarran Mann and Charlie Hilton on Piano, who also both performed solos on piano later in the concert. Elsewhere in the programme we had Abi Wright perform a solo on French Horn. Hope Haynes-Coote, Emily Moore and Sejal Assan all performed Flute solos. We had a rock band featuring Matt Moir, Kieran King, James Dixon-Boarder and Adam Pugh, perform ‘Seven Nation Army’. Holly Barnett performed a saxophone solo as Rebecca Alder performed a piano solo. We had a variety of excellent solo singers performing including, Mae Dudley, Lola Pap, Bronwen Herdman, Ella Soyza, Adam Pugh, Ben Maclean and Amirah Bobat. The crowd were a great mix of students and parents/family members and they responded with great encouragement and applause for our performers throughout the evening.

Photos of the event can be found on the academy website here.



Robert Smyth Academy held its annual Arts week week beginning 12th October, and it turned out to be a very busy week, often with multiple workshops happening all at the same time! Arts week is a chance for all students at the Academy to experience something new, or further their skills in an Art form in which they are already familiar with. Students could attend two workshops/seminars in the week and nearly all workshops were completely free. The week saw Ross Carpenter and Anji Mehra-Hughes from ‘Matthew Bournes New Adventures’ come in to share their knowledge and professional experience with the students as well as work on set tasks to develop their knowledge of Bourne’s version of ‘The Nutcracker’.

We also had Comics illustrator, Matt Timson, come in who delivered a workshop on drawing ‘Freaky heads!’ Professional photographer Jo Gane gave a pinhole photography workshop for a whole day. Recording and mix engineer, and ex Robert Smyth student, Jamie Ward delivered a seminar on creating a professional mix and talked us through his work. Julie Wright came in to deliver African Drumming sessions to our GCSE Music students and to local Primary schools. We also had the Embroiderers Guild work with our textile students. Illustrator and ex Robert Smyth student, Alice Bowsher came in to discuss her work and what it’s like to carve out a career as an artist. Iquan Silcott delivered a workshop in Lyrical Jazz and Commercial Dance. And Susie Preston came in to deliver a workshop in cake decorating. We also used our in house practitioners to deliver workshops in their specialised areas. Dance teacher Marie Routledge delivered two sessions to local Primary schools in Bollywood dance. Claire Parsons delivered a Drama devising workshop called Play in a day with over thirty students at once! Kyle Eastwood pushed our drama and theatre students to the limits with a workshop on her specialism, Physical Theatre, in the style of her group, Frantic Assembly. Alex Old, our new Design teacher and former automotive designer, held two workshops on marker and photoshop rendering for our budding designers too.

There was an amazing buzz around the Academy as workshops brimmed over with students discovering new skills and concepts all week. The week was rounded off with one of the year’s GCSE Music Concerts, which saw Key Stage 4 Music students take to the stage in our Performing Arts performance space, the Max.

“I learned so much from Arts Week. I furthered my knowledge of mixing and production as well as learning some new skills by attending the Freaky Heads drawing workshop. We are all very lucky to have such an event happen in the Academy every year.” – Jake Bentley, year 13.


More photos from the week can be found here: Robert Smyth Academy website

Arts Week 2015

Our annual Arts Week is soon to be upon us! The Performing Arts and Design faculties unit every year to deliver (mostly) free workshops for one week that students can sign up for.

This year we have a selection of external and internal experts delivering over a dozen different workshops across the different disciplines within our faculties.


Highlights include:

Matthew Bournes New Adventures

The internationally renowned contemporary dance company are coming to RSA from London to deliver a master class in contemporary dance.


Freakish Heads Illustration

Comic book artist, Matt Timson, will be here running a workshop on drawing horrible heads!


Play in a day

RSA’s own Claire Parsons, from Parsnips youth theatre, will be creating a ‘Play in a day’ for budding actors and improvisers.



The Embroiderers Guild will be in showing the students how to create many new stitches.



Ex-RSA student and professional producer, recording and mix engineer, Jamie Ward, will be in demonstrating some of his Pro-Tools sessions from some of the recordings he has recorded and mixed. He’ll be talking through tracking and mixing decisions he made along the way and will be offering up some of his tricks of the trade.

Here’s a description to all the events you can sign up for and timetable of all the sessions.

Arts week workshops

Arts Week Timetable 15 NGH



Ofsted recognised all the excellent work in Performing Arts in their recent report when they visited the academy in March. Here are some of the quotes from the report:

‘Many members of staff make valuable contributions to the academy’s excellent extra-curricular programme, particularly in performing arts and sport.’
‘The curriculum and, in particular, the academy’s excellent extra-curricular provision, make good contributions towards students’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development and prepares them well for life in modern Britain. The academy’s performing arts and sports programmes are well-regarded by students, parents, staff and the local community. The academy has several systems in place that encourage first-hand understanding of the principles of democracy, such as the house system and the councils established to oversee the sport and performing arts activities.’
‘Students value opportunities for charity fund-raising, participation in music, dance and sport.’
‘GCSE: When taken as a whole year group, students perform much better than their peers nationally in music. Achievement is very good overall in this area.’
‘Sixth Form: Very good progress was made in several subject areas, including music and music technology.’

Spring Concert 2015

On Wednesday 18th March we staged our annual Spring Concert to a packed hall. The concert featured all the academy ensembles: String Ensemble, Advanced Brass Group, Year 10-12 Flute Ensemble, Year 13 Flute Quartet, Saxophone Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Versatile Voices Choir, Folk Group, and the award-winning Big Band, Jazz Band and Soul Patrol. In addition year 13 students Toska Wonfor and Rebekah Weatherby performed outstanding tenor sax and piano solos respectively. The 6th form band Jonny’s At One performed ‘Uptown Funk’ with lead singer Georgia Whittle putting on an impressive ‘front-man’ performance by going into the audience – it was a superb ending to the first half.

In the second half the Versatile Voices Choir put on a memorable performance of two songs, one which featured Amirah Bobat, Lola Pap and Andrew Blackwell as soloists. At the end of the second half Soul Patrol showcased three of their new original songs written for the Music for Youth Festival.


Photos can be found on the Academy website here.