Musical Excellence on Show at Kelham Hall

Monday, March 18, 2019

Music Festival David Ross Education Trust

Students from the David Ross Education Trust’s academies showcase music talent at Secondary Music Festival.

As part of the David Ross Education Trust’s pioneering enrichment programme, 550 students from across its secondary schools took part in its annual Secondary Music Festival held at Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire.

The young musicians, from Years 7 to 13, performed both in their academy’s vocal and instrumental ensembles and as part of a Trust-wide Concert Band and Choir.

Performances ranged from chamber groups and choirs to orchestras, concert bands, big bands and extracts from school musicals.

The VOCES8 Scholars were on hand throughout the day, offering inspirational feedback on every performance and assembling a massed choir of over 400 students and staff.

Alongside this, 35 students competed in the Musician of the Year Competition, adjudicated by Chris Ouvry-Johns (Director of Music, Leicester Cathedral) and Rosenna East (General Manager, Nevill Holt Opera). The hotly fought contest was won by Humberston Academy’s Katie Plaskitt.

The David Ross Education Trust Youth Choir also performed at the event, singing a programme of Monteverdi, Brahms, Billy Joel and Bob Chilcott. Later this year, the choir will be singing evensong in Lincoln Cathedral and giving concerts with the Gabrieli Consort and Players and the Britten Sinfonia.

Simon Toyne, Executive Music Director at the David Ross Education Trust, said: “This year’s Music Festival surpassed previous years with an exceptionally high standard of performances from our accomplished musicians. I was really impressed with the level of professional engagement from the students and staff, and to see them enjoying every moment of the festival was wonderful.”

Following the Festival, several of the performances have been chosen to be part of the Trust’s first concert in the new Nevill Holt Theatre on 1 July 2019.


Over 12,000 primary and secondary students across the Trust are actively encouraged to play a musical instrument, make music with others and learn to sing through the Trust’s musical strategy, which helps to build focus and perseverance.

Research shows that music is a valuable activity in its own right, but it also acts as a valuable development tool. Music has become central within the Trust’s vision to help raise academic aspirations amongst young people, help them to maintain a sense of well-being and encourage them to explore their passions and discover their talents.   

The David Ross Education Trust offers an array of incredible performing opportunities for students through the only academy-wide enrichment programme of its kind within the state education sector. The Trust works with world-renowned organisations to help further enrich the learning experiences of pupils and provide musical experiences which can change their lives.