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RSA Performing Arts Newsletter

RSA Newsletter


It’s been a crazy, hectic and frighteningly busy few weeks back! But fear not though, we have managed to thrash together another Performing Arts newsletter reflecting on the “goings on” in the faculty during the last summer term.

Massive congratulations to all of our examination students who have achieved some of our best ever results and keeping us firmly at the top of the county in terms of results overall. Well done everybody involved….. together we are keeping creativity alive and kicking.

Please download the latest copy here sep-2016-rsa-perf-arts-newsletter

We’ve had to keep the issue shorter this time (8 pages) due to a short fall in sponsorship. A massive “thank you” goes to the Market Harborough and Bowdens Charity who are supporting us this year as we search for a more permanent sponsor for the newsletter.

A huge “thank you” too to former student Ava Forbes who has given us hours of her time in compiling this edition.


NCBF; a parents perspective

Young people and teachers: both seem to get a bad press these days. So, early one Saturday morning, I began to wonder how I’d managed to allow myself to volunteer, as a parent helper, for a school trip. Surely there are better ways to spend the first full day of a weekend, especially one still in the Easter school holidays. And what was the teacher thinking? Could this be more important than a well-earned rest before term got underway again?


The National Concert Band Festival (NCBF) has been running for over 30 years and has grown to include 120 bands representing 5,000 players who all start their journey in five Regional Festivals in England and Scotland. From there the best bands go forwards to the two-day National Festival with almost 2,500 participants and 1,000 supporters in attendance – the largest gathering of wind musicians in the UK.



The Robert Smyth Academy Big Band had reached the 2016 final at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester through the Midlands qualifying Festival in November last year. With such stiff competition from more than 20 schools on the Saturday alone, how would the 17 young musicians fare?


After the three-hour coach journey, the band had time to settle in, grab some food and get set up in their practise room. Mind you, snaking our way along corridors, up and down stairs, across food halls with instruments aloft, somehow the line got broken and the two halves of the band ended up in different places!


But this band had spirit, grit, determination and high expectations. Directed by the able Helle Petersen, they soon settled into their stride as they worked through their three numbers ahead of their main stage appearance in the early afternoon.


In jazz music, so I learnt, the rhythm section is particularly important, providing the rhythmic reference for the rest of the band. So, no pressure then Taylor Burton on keyboard, Jacob Bentley on bass, Jake Cartwright on electric guitar and Lyle Burton and Jonny Nicholson on drums / percussion. The question was how well they ably accompanied the rest of the instrumentalists – with their trumpets, saxophones, trombones and flutes.


What made the Festival different this year was the way feedback was provided. After their performances before an appreciative audience, one of the two adjudicators, both distinguished personalities from the world of jazz, got onto the stage. He provided what can only be described as a masterclass, getting the band to re-run one of their numbers and highlighting areas for improvement. At times it bordered on the cruel, but this Festival was about people moving to the top of their musical game, so standards were high.



By late afternoon the drama moved to the presentation of awards on the Upper Concourse where hordes of students gathered to hear their fate. It was with a mixture of relief and delight that Taylor Burton and Jacob Cartwright collected the Gold Award on behalf of The Robert Smyth Academy Big Band.


Throughout the day the students were a credit to their school, their teacher and their parents. They are clearly a talented bunch who will go on to greater things in the field of music – whether as a hobby, to study or a career. If you are a parent reading this, then I’d highly recommend you take time out of your busy schedule to go as a parent helper on any one of the many music trips run from the school. You won’t be disappointed.


By Mr. Nicholson

Next Year’s Midlands Regional Festival is on Sunday 27 November 2016 at Nottingham High School

We need a new sponsor – can you help?

PA ad

In January 2013 the performing arts department launched a termly Newsletter with reviews and previews of past and upcoming events as well as articles by students.  The Newsletter is an eight page A4 booklet which is published three times a year: in January, May and October.  Hard copies are distributed to every performing arts student, tutor groups, feeder schools, governors and visitors to the academy.  An electronic version is emailed out to Headteachers at our feeder schools and also to Robert Smyth parents/guardians through school comms.


Our current sponsor, The Ideal Marketing Company, is ending their two year sponsorship of the faculty in June and we are looking for a sponsor for the Newsletter to help cover the cost of printing and distributing it from September.  In return for sponsorship we would offer to place an advert for your company in the Newsletter as well as in any concert programmes we produce for our events.  We would also offer you up to four free tickets for any of our performing arts events.


The Newsletter has been exceptionally popular and we are now creating our 11th edition. Previous issues of the newsletter can be downloaded here If anyone is able to help or interested in finding out more, please contact Nick Hughes, Head of Performing Arts at

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.