Chetham's School of Music 2018
St Peter's Church, Shaldon
Bridge Road
TQ14 0DB
United Kingdom
Type: Concert
Date: Friday 22 June 2018
Start Time: 7.30pm
End Time: Approximately 9.30pm
Performer(s): Chetham's School of Music
Host Organisation: Shaldon Festival
Box Office Contact: Malcolm Watson
Box Office Email:

Ticket Information: Adults £12, Students £5 Free ticket if under 17 and accompanied by an adult Detailed information on how to book tickets shown on the 'Book Tickets' page of this website.

Chetham's School of Music Showcase Concert

Molin Han violin
Alexandra Toteva percussion
Ailsa McTernan soprano
Ruby Barber trumpet


Alexandra Toteva – snare drum

Ruby Barber – trumpet

Ailsa McTernan – soprano
MICHAEL HEAD: Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad
JOHN IRELAND: Spring Sorrow
GERALD FINZI: It was a lover and his lass

Ruby Barber – trumpet
CARL HÖHNE: Slavische Fantasie


Alexandra Toteva – marimba and xylophone
MARK GLENTWORTH: Blues for Gilbert

Molin Han – violin
1. Allegretto
2. Blues
3. Perpetuum mobile
FOSTER-HEIFETZ: Jeanie with the light brown hair

The Team
GEORGE GERSHWIN arr. Stephen Threlfall: It ain’t necessarily so

Piano accompaniment: Brenda Blewett
Director of Music: Stephen Threlfall


2018 REVIEW by Christopher Morris
The second concert of The 2018 Shaldon Festival saw a return, for the sixth time in fifteen years, of students from Chetham's School of Music, the largest specialist music school in the UK. On this occasion we welcomed four talented soloists, providing us with a broad range of music of many different styles.

Alexandra Toteva a percussionist from Bulgaria, began the proceedings with Eugene Novotney's A Minute of News. Novotney is internationally recognised as a composer of contemporary percussion music. The piece is scored for a single snare drum, with the snare lowered most of the time. Alexandra displayed an amazing variety of different effects, frequently exchanging drumsticks, rarely using two the same, and coaxing astonishing sounds using the fingers of the hand and brush. There were frequent rim-shots as well as the use of the engagement and disengagement of the snare as a rhythmic device. Although quite short, this piece is quite complex and she carried the performance off flawlessly.

Our next soloist was the English trumpeter Ruby Barber who is studying piano and voice at Chetham's. She played first the Caprice for the trumpet with piano accompaniment by the French composer Eugene Bozza, written in 1943. This is in three linked sections, the first with lots of runs and a good deal of triple-tonguing. The central, more lyrical section is followed by a faster, virtuosic finale. Two different mutes were used during this performance. Ruby followed this with the Nocturne, the second movement from Henri Tomasi's Trumpet Concerto. Tomasi is also French and is contemporary with Bozza but his musical style is different. This engaging movement was beautifully delivered on this occasion.

Then we were treated to five songs, performed by soprano Ailsa McTernan.. Ailsa has a very clear, open voice with excellent diction. First was Michael Head's Sweet Chance, that led my steps abroad, set to a text by the Welsh poet William Henry Davies, whose poetry deals with, amongst other matters, the way in which the human condition is reflected in nature and, in this case, the coincidence between a rainbow and the song of a cuckoo. Next was Vaughan William's Silent Noon, a setting of a poem by the pre-Raphaelite poet Rosetti. Then we had the well-known Sleep by Ivor Gurney, with text by the Jacobean poet John Fletcher, and Spring Sorrow, John Ireland's setting of a poem by the first world war poet Rupert Brooke. Finally, Ailsa sang Gerald Finzi's It was a lover and his lass with a lot of hey nonny-no-ing! All these songs suited Ailsa'a rang and style of voice perfectly, a really well chosen selection, performed brilliantly.

The first half concluded with a return of Ruby Barber with Carl Holne's Slavishe Fantasiie, a virtuosic display demonstarting Ruby's mastery of her instrument.

After the interval, Alexandra Toteva returned to give us Michi by Keiko Abe on the marimba. This piece is a standard n the advanced marimba repertoire. It is a real virtuoso piece where the player has to use four malletts simultaneously, playing an almost non-stop stream of demisemiquavers. She then played Blues for Gilbert, a jazzy piece with syncopated rhythms by Mark Glentworth, played on the vibraphone, and finally, back to the marimba (this time with two hard malletts) with Valse Brilliante by George Hamilton Green. These three dazzling performances reinforced our view that Alexandra is an artist to be reckoned with.

Our fourth soloist was the Chinese violinist Molin Han who played Violin sonata, in G major. This work is for violin and piano and is in three movements. It demonstrates some of Ravel's more angular, impressionistic writing and exploits the differences in tonal quality between the two instruments. This is particularly noticeable in the Allegretto first movement. The syncopated and jazzy Blues second movement is followed by a Perpetuum mobile where the brilliance of the violin is contrasted with the relative simplicity of the piano accompaniment. This is an immensely challenging work and was brought off by Molin with great style and terrific panache. Molin concluded her performance with a lovely rendering of Jeanie with the light brown hair by Stephen Foster, arranged for violin by Jascha Heifetz. This was a lovely rendering and the perfect antidote to the Ravel. Molin is clearly a very talented musician.

Finally, all four soloists came together for a rendering of George Gerswin's It ain't necessarily so, arranged by Chetham's Director of Music, Stephen Threlfall. This was an excellent conclusion to the evening, with the showcase moments for each of the soloists.

Tribute must be given to the timeless work of the piano accompanist, Brenda Blewitt, whose exacting performance gave each soloist the opportunity to shine. The standard of performance of all four of these young people was fantastic. The audience had an enjoyable and uplifting evening and, if these performances are anything to go by, the long-term future of high-quality classical music is assured.

Ruby Barber (trumpet) LRSM is 18 years old from Thirsk, North Yorkshire. She has studied trumpet at Chetham's since age 13, firstly with Tracey Redfern, and latterly with Murray Greig. In summer 2017 she received her second diploma in trumpet performance. She was a member of the National Youth Music Theatre Company of 2016 & 2017 and a member of the National Youth Orchestra 2017 & 2018. Ruby has performed in venues such as the Hackney Empire and the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms 2017. She also studies piano with Marta Karbownicka and singing with Diana Palmerston. Ruby sings in the Chetham's Vocal Ensembles and recently performed in the Vocal department’s opera extracts from The Marriage of Figaro. As a soloist, Ruby performed the Arutiunian Trumpet Concerto in July 2017 with her local youth orchestra and has participated in master classes with trumpet players Allen Vizzutti, and Jason Evans, and baritone Marcus Farnsworth.

Molin Han (violin) was born in 2000 in Zibo Shandong, China and started to learn the violin and piano at the age of 4. In 2010 she attended the Shanghai Conservatory of Music Affiliated Primary School, Grade 4, studied with Chenxing Huang and won the first place in the entrance examination. In 2014 she attended the Central Conservatory of Music Affiliated Middle School, Grade 2, studied with Liwei Tan and again won the first place in the entrance examination. In 2014-2015 Molin joined the China Youth Chamber Orchestra and acted as chief performer and then in 2016, joined the China Youth Symphony Orchestra. In April 2016 she participated in the Menuhin International Violin Competition as the youngest in the Senior Group and in December of that year performed her first solo concert held at the Central Conservatory of Music. In 2017 Molin was selected as a member of the first National Youth Orchestra of China (NYO-China) and performed at Carnegie Hall, Beijing National Grand Theatre, Shanghai Oriental Art Centre, Suzhou Cultural and at the Art Centre Grand Theatre in July this year. Molin started at Chetham’s School of Music in 2017 with a full scholarship and now studies with Jan Repko where she won the Concerto Competition in January of this year and will perform with the schools symphony orchestra in 2019.

Ailsa McTernan (soprano) is a 17-year-old who has been a student at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester since September of 2017. She is a double first-study singer and violinist, studying the violin with Deirdre Ward and singing with Margaret McDonald whilst also studying the piano as a second-study.  She started singing lessons aged 9 and was invited at an early age to participate in singing courses and masterclasses with performances in Boston, Louth, Grimsby, Cambridge and Tuscany. She became a member of Opera North Youth Chorus and performed as a soloist with them in Bob Chilcott’s Circle Song at Sage Gateshead and in ‘Dr Ferrets’ Bad Medicine Roadshow’ performed at Buxton Opera House, at Hull City of Culture and at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival. She also performed the lead soprano role with ONYC in Kurt Weill’s Down in the Valley at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival. She has received invitations to perform at various concerts, services, weddings and charity events. Recently Ailsa was awarded first prize in the national competition ‘Catherine Lambert Junior Recital Prize’ held at Trinity Laban. She is really enjoying her studies at Chetham’s and hopes to embark upon a music career.

Alexandra Toteva (marimba) Alexandra Toteva was born in 2001 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She began studying percussion at the National School of Music and Dance “Dobrin Petkov”, moving to Chetham’s School of Music in September 2017. She has won many awards including first prize at the International competition for percussion instruments “Pendim”, the International competition for young performers in Pernik and first prize and prize for best performance in the International competition “Vurban Vurbanov” Burgas. She was also awarded second prize in the international competition Dobrich-Albena (no first prize awarded). She has also won awards as part of the Percussion Ensemble “Presto” and was awarded special prize for rising young talent. Alexandra has performed with various orchestras including the National School of music Dobrin Petkov and the Symphony Orchestra and Wind Orchestra of Pernik at Plovdiv, Sofia, Burgas, Haskovo and Pernik. She has performed in masterclasses with Emmanuel Sejourne and Aurora Percussion Duo.

Chetham's School of Music
The thriving creative community at Chetham’s involves up to 300 students aged 8-18, whose common passion is music. Entry to the School is based solely on musical ability or potential, never on background or ability to pay, thanks to generous bursaries through the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme. This common bond of musical passion makes for a truly inspirational place which transforms the lives of all who are part of it.
Chetham’s is the largest specialist Music School in the UK and is the only one based in the north of England. The School is also a national and international resource for music education – welcoming teachers, professional players, composers and conductors, community groups, school children and other young musicians, both experienced and novices, to come together and make music. Our network of partnerships with professional orchestras and organisations extends across the music industry, and our alumni populate orchestras and ensembles across the world.
Based in the heart of Manchester, Chetham’s is housed in a state-of-the-art New School Building, with an acoustically designed concert hall opening onsite in 2017 as a new home for student performances and professional concerts. The opening of The Stoller Hall will further develop the links between Chetham’s students and the professional musical community, and build on the School’s already strong position within Manchester’s cultural sector.
Chetham’s long history began in 1421, and students still enjoy opportunities to perform in the 600-year old Baronial Hall attached to Chetham’s Library. It opened as a charitable school in 1653, and educated the poor boys of the district for 400 years before becoming a co-educational music school in 1969. Over almost 50 years, Chetham’s students and alumni have enjoyed success at major competitions, taken up positions across the music profession as performers, leaders and teachers, and established the School as a vital element of music education in the UK.

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Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.