Gallery: Julian Lloyd Webber officially opens Ipswich School’s new multi-million pound music faculty
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Ipswich School has celebrated its past and its future, commemorating 450 years since Queen Elizabeth I re-affirmed its Royal Charter and the official opening of phase one of its £5.5million new music school.
A special chapel service was held with guests, including many old Ipswichians, the Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and celebrated cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.
Headmaster Nicholas Weaver said: “While we rightly celebrate the history of Ipswich School, we also look to an exciting future for our musicians. The new home for the Britten Faculty of Music will create endless musical possibilities both for our own pupils as well as the local and wider community.”
The campaign for a new music school was launched in June 2012. Phase one, which cost around £3.2m, includes two main rehearsal rooms, a technical suite and eight practice rooms. Phase two will include a concert hall, recording studio and four further practice rooms.
The architects were Cowper Griffiths and the main building contractor SEH French.
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“Our musicians were doing great work in effectively what used to be boys dormitories when the school moved to Henley Road in 1852. It wasn’t a proper space, we didn’t have it acoustically isolated so you’re practising next door and all the sound was leaking out to another room, it was all a bit higgedly piggedly,” added Mr Weaver.
“We wanted to realise all the untapped potential. We were doing as much as we could with the facilities and this allows us that little bit more headroom. It also says something about how important music is to us... We believe in an all-round education.
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Part of (the new music school’s cost) has been raised internally from our surplus. Music is a really rich part of our curriculum and, as a school, we’re putting out money where our mouth is when we say it’s not just about exam results.”
Mr Lloyd Webber, one of the campaign’s patrons, officially opened the new building.
He stressed the importance of investment in music education.
“It seems to be on the wane in so many schools so it’s wonderful to see Ipswich School take it so seriously. Music has the power to unite people, it doesn’t have any barriers of language, race or background, people work together at music and it’s bigger than them as individuals.
“Music has been my life. I feel very strongly about it and I’ve seen just what it can do for children. It’s a hugely important thing to have in school life. It’s very easy to cut things back and very hard to build them up again. I think this government needs to be really careful about what it’s doing.”
Karl Daniels, chairman of Ipswich School’s governing body, was delighted to be celebrating two exciting occasions for Ipswich School. He said the new build had been one of the most interesting projects he’d been involved with during his time with the school and in many ways the most complicated.
“More than 10 years ago somebody said ‘we ought to have a new music school, we badly need one, that’s a good idea’ - and here it is. If only it were that simple.”
Thanking all those involved in the planning and building process and the campaign’s patrons - which include Lord Tollemache, soprano Dame Emma Kirkby, pianist Nicholas McCarthy and former headmaster Ian Galbraith - he added: “The new music school, which is another iconic school building, has been made possible through the generous donations of parents, former pupils and friends of Ipswich School and we are indebted to them for their support.”