Woldingham welcomes new Director of Music

Woldingham welcomes new Director of Music

14 May 2024

Mr Richard Hammond-Hall, Director of Music

I am thrilled to have joined the Woldingham School community as Director of Music in a department bursting with talented students, dedicated and experienced teachers, and the most incredible facilities.

There is already so much for the Music Department to be proud of and I look forward to working with students and staff to build on that existing success. Every year, Woldingham students go on to study at top universities, conservatoires and colleges – one of our current Upper Sixth students has an offer to read music at the University of Cambridge with an Organ Scholarship – and I am excited to work with our team of academic music teachers to continue delivering an inspiring, fun, capacious, and challenging music curriculum from Year 7 through to A Level Music and beyond.

Following the tremendous achievement of winning this year’s Pro Corda Chamber Music Festival, we are already working to upscale our chamber music making for next year. I am particularly looking forward to working with Ms Rachel Ives in her role as Assistant Director of Music and Head of Academic Music who, among her many achievements, has led the development of chamber music at school over the last two years. I was impressed by this year’s production of The Wedding Singer, and I cannot wait to work alongside drama staff and students on next year’s production, especially as we are going to be working hard to involve as many musicians as possible.

We enjoy fantastic links with our colleagues in Chaplaincy, and the Carol Service in Westminster Cathedral is an annual highlight, alongside recent Chapel Choir collaborations with Eton College. There are already exciting plans afoot for further such collaborations as well as choir tours to sing services in iconic British cathedrals.

I am eager to see more students forming their own bands and I have planned a number of Jazz and Pop Nights for next year to provide students with platforms to explore a wide breadth of genres. With a recording studio and two Mac suites, there is so much potential to explore music technology and music production at Woldingham, and over half term we will take delivery of a second organ to provide an additional practice facility for our burgeoning number of budding young organists.  

Before joining Woldingham, I read Music at King’s College London, where I was Organ Scholar to the internationally acclaimed Chapel Choir. I went on to gain a master’s degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and spent a further year there as an Artist Fellow. Since graduating, I have been privileged to work for the Merton Music Foundation, Hill House International Junior School, Westminster School, and Surbiton High School. Between 2018 and 2023, I dedicated my Sundays to being the Director of Music at a parish church in Kent, where I founded a junior choir and designed and built a Choral and Organ Scholarship Programme that won national awards from the Cathedral Music Trust and the Royal School of Church Music. In addition to my role at Woldingham, I am proud to sit on the Board of Trustees for the Thames Youth Orchestra and I am the Collaborative Artist at Vox Anima London, an incredible organisation that delivers an annual cycle of innovative, world-class choral concerts.

Everyone here at Woldingham has already made me feel so welcome and if any parents or students wish to reach out with ideas for the Music Department, my door and inbox are always open and I would absolutely love to hear from you.

For now, watch this space for information on our international Music Department Tour in summer 2025…

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