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Rachel Branston
Course Director

Dear Parents . . . .
My name is Rachel Branston and I have taught music all my working life. I have directed choirs and always been involved in musical productions. So I have had the joy of seeing the wonderful benefits that making music brings to young people. The learning that takes place whilst they’re having fun and interacting together could fill a book (and indeed it has).

The NB Music Course
Young Musicians
Musical Theatre

Orchestras for Advanced and Moderate Musicians.

Musical Theatre, rehearsing extracts from 3 West End shows.

Coaching from first class, professional performers and educators.

Daily mini concerts with chances to perform.

End of week full concert for parents.

Perfect for both experienced and 'first time' performers.

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Our older son Nic certainly thrived on music. He played the french horn, piano and bass guitar and was on the verge of a professional orchestral career when, in 2008 we tragically lost him in a car accident.

Some of Nic's friends said they really wanted to keep his memory alive and out of this desire was born the charity we now run under the name of
"The Nicholas Branston Foundation"
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The courses started the following summer. For the first seven years we were based in Rutland, at Oakham School. From 2017 we moved to Bristol at the Cathedral Choir School where we will be again in 2018.
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We believe our event is unique as it combines musicianship and musical theatre. There are several "perform a play in a week" courses around the country. Their problem is that a few youngsters get challenging lead roles whilst many have to make do with supporting 'walk on' parts. We have taken the approach of rehearsing scenes from three different shows which gives far more people the chance for interesting roles.
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The orchestra often uses special arrangements and compositions so that everyone has parts that are the right standard for them and this year we’re hoping to have enough people so that we can have two orchestras. The whole time is not spent rehearsing in a large group, however; we have a team of specialist teachers who will lead many smaller ensembles of different styles and sizes.

Our aim is that everyone is pushed as far as they want to go but don’t feel out of their depth. There will be times when older people work alongside the youngest but playing more complicated parts; this helps the younger ones realise just what can be achieved and the older ones can push themselves that little bit further so that they shine even more brightly.
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There will also be opportunities to sing. We have some excellent choral directors and youngsters will be able to choose two options in addition to the orchestras and one will be a choir.
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Each day starts with a physical warm up for everyone in orchestra and musical theatre. Then after lunch there is another warm up which uses percussion and dance as its theme.

This means that there are lots of times when everyone is together. People will come from many different schools but friendships are always made and kept throughout the years. If you liked the show "Stomp" you'll love the percussion opening to our final concert.
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Then finally, we end each of the first four days with a mini, half hour concert to parents and friends. Here anyone can perform something they've worked on during the week or show of their special talents.

The week concludes on the Friday with a concert, showing parents and friends everything that has been achieved during the week in a formal concert and I promise you that as parents you will be stunned at just how incredible your children are!
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We are fundamentally a charity and although we have large overheads we are keen that everyone who wants to come, should have that opportunity. Please do contact me if you feel that the finances are holding you back from applying. Any money left over will go to the Bristol charity "Music Space" to support music therapy in schools and the Children’s Hospital in Bristol.

We're looking forward to a great summer week in Bristol.

Please contact me with any questions you may have.

Rachel Branston.