Perhaps you’d like to play an instrument, write poems, sing at the top of your voice or be a sound mixer? Whether you’re already a performer or a diva in the making, you can have a go, have fun and get creative.
Check out the options in the list below for more details. If you’ve got a question or suggestion, please get in touch.
The HSDC Alton Theatre Company has a long history of highly successful productions to its name. Here is an opportunity to work as a performer, a designer, props, stage manager, etc. If you thrive on being part of a highly committed and dedicated creative team, then this course could be for you. You will be expected to attend additional rehearsals in order to achieve the high production values the company has set for itself over the years.
An ‘open’ audition is held at the start of the autumn term for students wishing to perform in the set production at the end of December. However, students wishing to be involved in other aspects of the production process ie, design and stage management, are invited to step forward to keep up the company’s strong reputation for high quality productions.
As well as exploring the contemporary Big Band repertoire, we also expand on it, arranging for popular modern tunes. Rehearsals take place in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. All wind and brass instruments are welcome together with drummers, bass players, guitarists and keyboard/pianists.
The Big Band plays throughout the year, including the Alton Mayors Ball, the East Hampshire Voluntary Awards, The Alton Classic Car Show, The Farnham Jazz Festival, The Swanage Jazz Festival and The Alton Yuletide Festival. Together with the Alton Jazz Band, The Big Band is all about getting out there and being extremely active in the local community. However, there is always room for another gig!
This ensemble is for all string players, together with assorted wind, brass and percussion players. Rehearsals take place in an informal and relaxed atmosphere, preparing music for a number of concerts throughout the year. During the first term we will play as an orchestra, whilst during the spring term there will be opportunities to divide into smaller ensembles – such as a string group and a wind ensemble, in order to explore different repertoire.
A fun ensemble offering the opportunity to perform large choral works, with an orchestra, at least twice a year. All are welcome, whatever your voice. Recently the choir sang Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass with an ensemble and Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Winchester Cathedral.
During the first term you will be part of a full SATB choir, whilst in the second term we will divide into different ensembles; Chamber Choir, Barbershop and Rock Choir. Every year, members of the choir take part in the College’s annual ‘Sing it from Scratch’ event, which takes place early in the summer term.
The Alternative is our student online magazine, where students can share their work and opinions with the local community.
Budding journalists, business brains, designers and creative bods; if you are interested in publishing either from a creative writing perspective or you just want to learn the basics, then our student magazine needs your contribution.
Students interview and video what’s happening around campus and have their own voice on the student-created, vibrant website.
The Composers Ensemble focuses on the performance of student compositions. Pieces by first and second year music students will be workshopped in the Spring term, as an opportunity for students to receive feedback on and develop their work. Megan Harefield, one of our first year composers has this year been in receipt of the Martin Read Foundation young composers award, affording her the excellent opportunity of composing in association with the Royal College of Music. We look forward to seeing what she creates!
Weekly lunchtime workshops for students who enjoy writing creatively. Students are encouraged to develop and shape their skills to write poetry, short stories and non-fiction texts. Students can enter competitions, participate in poetry slams or simply share their work with each other.
The HSDC Alton Jazz Band is an anarchic collective that performs a wide range of ‘in yer face‘ music from jazz standards, through the music of Armstrong and Ellington, a good dollop of Charles Mingus, to the more modern works of Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis and Kenny Wheeler, all mixed together with a big helping of world music. The HSDC Alton Jazz Band plays a large number of concerts each year. In recent years it has given a short concert tour of France, performed in front of 1000 people at the Birmingham International Conference Centre and is regularly invited to perform at the Farnham Festival and Swanage Jazz Festival. Most instruments are welcome. An ability to improvise would help but it is not a requirement.
HSDC Alton is very proud of its Jazz Band – an institution!
An opportunity for students to work directly from the life model. You will work with a wide range of materials including charcoal, ink, paint and mixed media. It would be particularly helpful for Art and Design students wishing to pursue the subject further to Art Foundation and Degree level.
During the first year, students will rehearse and perform a diverse repertoire of songs which this year included material from Santana, Audioslave, Muse, The Zutons, James Brown, and Paramore amongst others. These will then be performed at concerts and open mic nights throughout the year. During the second year, students are formed into bands and work towards Oakfest – a performance at the end of the course, which will lead to certification with a RSL Level 3 Rock Award for Music Practitioners.
As A Level & BTEC Music Tech students have to record songs as part of their coursework, the workshops help improve students’ listening skills, as well as giving them plenty of high quality material to record! These workshops also give the rock based A Level Music students an opportunity to prepare for recital performances – and at the end of the course you come out with an extra qualification – the RSL Level 3 Rock Certificate for Music Practitioners.
Two bands, formed especially as part of Live Music Performance; Inside Indigo and Time Will Tell, won through to the national final of Music for Youth and both played at the HMV Institute in Birmingham.
Students wanting to take A Level Music are required to have grade five theory. If you wish to take a graded exam – above grade 5, then the Associated Board require you to pass grade 5 theory.
To quote a past student:
“Grade V Music Theory has greatly helped me in understanding aspects of A Level Music. I am now studying for my Grade VIII Music Theory which will hopefully help me in gaining a place at university, as it scores extra UCAS points. Music Theory has also helped with aspects of my Music Technology coursework, enabling me to write more advanced harmonies in my composition using technology.”