Cath Jones (Head of Year 11) said:
“The GCSE results are very pleasing. The students have experienced two years of uncertainty but trusted in their staff and applied themselves fully to the task in hand.
They dedicated much extra time to their studies and developing revision techniques. They deserve the success they have achieved”.
Congratulations to all the students who received their results today!
Congratulations to all our Sixth Form results
Rob Jackson, Head of Sixth form said:
“Today is the culmination of two years of hard work by UCC’s students, staff and parents. It has been pleasing to see the strength of the newer vocational courses maintained this year matching the performance of the GCE A Level courses. The majority of our students have progressed onto higher education courses and all of our students have been successful in securing education, training or employment post sixth form”.
I said the same about the Monday we departed for France, and I didn’t really manage to stick to it, but there is only so much you can say about the return journey. Once we arrived in Calais we find ourselves stuck in a long line of coaches wanting to cross the border, which means that not only do we miss the earlier ferry which we had been aiming and on time for, we miss our designated ferry by a minute. All because of border security. Well, at least we know they are doing their jobs, right?
Once we are back in England it does not take long for the rain to start falling. You would think that we didn’t miss it? Well, this is partly true, but there is something comforting about the rain, a sense of feeling at home and a journey coming to an end. At least it had cleared by the time we reached Cumberland yard at 11:30PM allowing us to pick up our instruments and cases without getting wet.
A final few words
And with that, our blog is finished. It has been a pleasure working with some of the finest young musicians from our area. We would like to say a special thank you to both Mr Bryant and Mr Gordon, both of whom have sacrificed many hours of their own time to get us to the standard required to play in Paris as well as the rest of the staff, without whom the tour would not have been a success.
Over the next few months we will be taking a rest before we start to plan a new trip to Germany in the Summer of 2019. If you would like any more details on this trip, search UCC Germany Music Tour July 2019 for some updates, or message the UCC Music Twitter account @UCC_Music where there will also be regular updates with what is happening within the department.
Another action packed day. As we take the bus into the centre of Paris we have the opportunity to stop and explore a music shop on the where a couple of harmonicas are bought. Beware Germany, harmonica duet is on the table.
As we further approach the city centre, we learn that in France, you give way to traffic that wants to enter the roundabout rather than that which is already circulating it, which, when there are few road markings, can be a bit of a free for all, especially when there are eight, yes. Eight, lanes of traffic.
Our second stop of the day is the Arc de Triomphe where we have an hour to look around the base of the arc, take some photos and see the eternal flame. From here we begin the long walk down the Champs-Elysees which takes up a lot of what remains of the day before our evening performance.
As we reach the halfway point of the walk, we come across a small hut with a large area for seating behind it. Stopping for a rest, some of our musicians approach the hut to buy a drink, to find that it is not only a small drinks stall, but a crepe stand. Can you get something more French? The only things to be said about this is that they had a very good day for business and that what they produced was top quality. Once we reach the end of the road, the group comes upon a garden, the very one we are to be performing in later in fact, but there is very little time to find the bandstand as many queue for ice-creams and drinks to cool us from the heat, which we are yet to adjust to.
Now running later than we would have liked because of Parisian rush hour traffic, we arrive at the band stand in Parc Montsouris where we performed our first full 90-minute set, apart from the few songs we had to cut to make up for lost time. No matter because we still gathered a crowd, many of whom stayed to watch our entire performance, even through the light rain showers, the wind and the heat. After the performance, city officials spoke to Mr Bryant, saying that we were one of the best groups to have performed on that stage, which just goes to show that the hard work we put in payed off.
Evening time comes and we are once again dining at the hotel restaurant where the food has improved tenfold from our previous experience, although the food was not to everybody’s liking.
This night there was no entertainment apart from what we had brought with us, as the staff wanted us all in bed so we could be ready for the next day.
Our last full day in Paris was one of more relaxation than the previous couple. After a breakfast of cereals, croissants and yoghurt (like the previous days) we boarded the coach which took us to the river Seine, where we found that we would be taking an hour and half river tour which would give us the opportunity to see some famous places which Paris holds, such as the Louvre.
After the tour had finished we once again climbed onto the coaches which took us on a short trip around the city, including the place where Lady Diana was killed. After the short drive, we reached our next stop, the Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck. An elevator took us to the very top floor where we had the opportunity to see the views of Paris from one of the tallest buildings in the City. A few steps up and we could walk on the roof of the tower where the views were even better than the floor below. As well as the views, there was the “Sky Bar” which sold both soft and alcoholic drinks; however, a small flute of champagne was all of 12 euros, never mind as some great pictures were taken, especially of the Eiffel Tower and the park next to it where we were to play later in the day.
It gets to half past four in the French afternoon with the sun still beating down, but the temperatures cooling down to make it slightly more bearable. The band is all set up and ready to play in Parc Champs du Mars, right next to the iconic Eiffel Tower. Sound check complete, we start with thirty minutes of big band and the UCC singers as well as a couple of solo performances, followed by the Wind band which includes the Queen Medley, Disney Medley and music for Wicked. Once again, we manage to draw a crowd from the surrounding area and have a few members of our audience up on their feet dancing to the tunes that we are providing for them. Once we have finished our final performance in Paris, we are congratulated with a warm round of applause from our listeners, all of whom are impressed with our work. It is at this point Mr Bryant becomes emotional as he realises that our UCC Music Paris Tour 2017 has come to an end and that he is proud of the bands for pulling together to make it a sUCCess when there were times when it looked like it wouldn’t happen.
Back at the restaurant for our final Parisian evening meal, there is an awards ceremony hosted by Mr Bryant and Mr Gordon, with certificates going to the people with the best hairdo, the most improved, and as stated earlier, the best show off, with the last being awarded to Appleby’s Robert McNicol.
First of all, I would like to apologise about the lack of updates with the blog, which I have now finally had the chance to complete.
As many of you who are reading this are aware, Ullswater Community College music department teamed up with Appleby Grammar School to form a formidable team of ninety-six young musicians and staff who have been working for over a year to get to the standard required to play in some of Paris’ most prestigious locations.
In all honesty, there’s very little that I can say about today, apart from there was a lot of travelling. Leaving just after midnight on Monday morning, the two coaches loaded with musical instruments and our luggage, we departed from Cumberland yard and hit the long trek ahead of us. Surprisingly, sleep seemed to come naturally to everyone, although that didn’t last long. As the sun began to rise above what was a sunny day in England, the members of Coach B woke and decided to have last minute rehearsals at the back of the coach by singing each of their individual parts for the full ninety-minute set.
Approaching Dover, we had made very good progress. In fact, it was so good that both of the coaches managed to catch an earlier ferry, whereas the original plan had been to take two.
Once on the ferry, we had some time to ourselves, so we went in search of breakfast. Many students managed to find a Starbucks on board selling all day breakfast sandwiches and tea. Now, if you don’t know Starbucks, it’s an American firm, which means that the tea provided was of no standard to a proper British brew. No matter, us plucky brits can last a week, can’t we? Whilst us students settled for a café breakfast, our group leaders managed to find the ferry restaurant where they were serving full English breakfasts.
All full up, the teams once again joined for the second half of the journey which would take us to our final destination – Paris.
Arriving at around 4:30PM (French time) we were given a few hours to freshen up before we were to dine in the hotel, where we were provided with a three course meal, consisting of couscous, burger and chips and a slice of apple tart.
Evening entertainment consisted of what every music tour entertainment should be – a music quiz, although, due to many of us being tired after a day of travelling we were giving the option of taking part or retiring to our rooms for the night with the thoughts of Disneyland the next day.
This is it. The big day. The day of the Big Band Disneyland performance, and what a day it was as well. The sun was shining bright, temperatures reaching the mid-30s and everybody was raring to go. As we arrive it is time for our very own Mr Bryant to take to the stage, or to the phone in this case, as he takes part in a live radio broadcast for BBC Radio Cumbria. Those who are not performing have an hour to explore the park before we meet at the Videopolis stage where the band is to perform the twenty-minute set which they have been practicing hard for.
As the sound checks are underway, we realise that this is going to be a special moment because this is not only a once in a lifetime opportunity, there is a full team dedicated to helping set up and make sure that the band’s needs have been catered for. As the clock hits 12, the music starts with ‘Uptown Funk’ followed by a variety of hits including ‘Birdland’ ‘Living on a Prayer’ and the star of the show ‘Superstition’ which provided the opportunity for some solos by the band members, one of which earned the award for “biggest show off”.
The rest of the day was continued in high spirits after the performance was taken well by locals and others alike. Once again, we had the opportunity to finish exploring the area, ride on the variety of rollercoasters and play on the side shows which were available.
Dinner at Planet Hollywood was also a success, with the options consisting of burgers (yes, again) or pasta, with the meat being cooked to our liking. Some of the older students had the option to have a drink with the meal which was very well received by those that chose to accept.
After dinner is the reason that everybody wants to go to Disneyland. The fireworks. Due to a slight mix up with the busses, we were at the back of the crowd, but what we could see was something that none of us will ever forget. The views were spectacular and there are no words to describe how amazing it was to watch the fireworks over the iconic Disneyland Castle.