Foundation Fellows 2016

Foundation Fellows for webOn Saturday, 17th November we welcomed former pupils, West-End pianist Louise Hunt (Wells , academy principal James Howarth and award-winning video director David Wilson to Cedars Hall to receive their Foundation Fellowship Awards.

The fellows were supported by family, friends, former classmates and staff, including former Head, John Baxter and former Deputy Head Charles Cain who, together with Wells' Head of Art and Graphics Jan Tapner and Head of Percussion Jayne Obradovic, gave wonderful citations about each of the fellows, remarking on their many accomplishments and achievements whilst at Wells and in their careers to date.

For short biographies on each of our Fellows, download a copy of our event programme here. (insert link to programme)
It was wonderful too to host the awards ceremony, a drinks reception and fabulous first dinner in Cedars Hall. Our thanks to everyone who attended and offered their support.

To see more of our talented Foundation Fellows, including Louise, who are supporting Wells' new bursary appeal, visit

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James Howarth, Wells Cathedral School, 1987-1992, Academy Principal.


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Louise Hunt, Wells Cathedral School, 1990-1999, West End pianist.


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David Wilson, Wells Cathedral School, 1995-2003, Music Video Director.

Cedars Hall Gala Dinner at The Garrick Club

Barber-Shop-at-The-GarrickIn one of the country's oldest and most prestigious private London clubs, The Garrick Club, 100 of London and Somerset's glitterati, Lords, Ladies and gentlemen came together for a Cedars Hall Gala Dinner and showcase music recital in aid of the Wells Cathedral School Foundation appeal for Cedars Hall.

Joined by special guest alumni – international 'cellist and Lead Patron of the Cedars Hall campaign Jamie Walton, comedian Vikki Stone and soprano Sophie Gallagher - Wells musicians dazzled guests with a varied programme which, after the barbershop sang the final few words of 'Goodnight Sweetheart', was met with rapturous applause.

After a delicious dinner, including 'Bangers and Mash' and 'Wells Mess', guests were invited to join in the Grand Raffle and Auction for which all the prizes had been kindly donated by generous sponsors, including Wells' Patron HRH The Prince of Wales, who also gave a special message of support for the programme.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this wonderful evening, which raised over £29,000 for Cedars Hall, and especially to Leta Showering and the Cedars Hall Fundraising Committee for their support.

Latest views of Cedars Hall

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Since the picture on the right was taken in the middle of January 2016, the steel finish has been added to the top section of Cedars Hall and it is looking more and more like the finished item every day (see CGI pic below). To watch our quadcopter flypast of the latest stage of the build please click here.

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Amazing progress with Cedars Hall

DJI00171 webThere has been wonderful progress in the construction of Cedars Hall, which now towers from the site on Cedars Field. Eric Parry's unique design is being faithfully brought to life by Shaylor, our construction company, who are both on time and on budget. The school hope to take possession of a completed building by May 2016, for an informal opening in June, with an opening season and grand opening ceremony at the end of the first week in October.

Fundraising via the Foundation for Cedars Hall, with a target of £9.4M, continues to go well and we are looking for donations to help raise the final £1m.

One of the ways in which you might like to support us is through a naming opportunity: We invite you to 'Take Your Seat' in Cedars Hall and name a seat in the auditorium in perpetuity; Chorus (stalls) seats can be named for £1,200 plus Gift Aid (£20 per month for five years, plus Gift Aid) and Descant (gallery) seats are £3,000 plus Gift Aid (£50 per month for five years, plus Gift Aid). To 'Take Your Seat' please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

See inside Cedars Hall!

IMG 0658The construction of Cedars Hall is coming along well - it is on schedule, the glass is going in by the end of November, and we still hope that the contractors, Shaylor, will be able to hand over the building to us sometime in the Spring of 2016. Of course, the building will then need to be outfitted properly which will take a while longer.

If you click here you can watch the latest video of the construction - this time of the inside of the Cedars Hall build - you can start to see the layout of the rooms - the Hall itself is the area with the most scaffolding!

Old Wellensian Socials

The AntelopeUnfortunately, the Bristol OW Social scheduled for 12th November has been postponed until the new year owing to the lack of availability of many OWs. Apologies to those who were looking forward to this! See below for our next socials, this December in Wells and London.

Christmas Socials in London and Wells
*New London Venue*

The London OW Social will be held at The Antelope, Eaton Terrace (SW1), on 10th December at 6pm. The pub is a two-minute walk from Sloane Square tube station and the Cadogan Hall. All very welcome and the first round is on us!

The annual Wells OW Social will be in Cedars Drawing Room on 17th December at 6pm. Join Wells staff and members of the Association for mince pies and mulled wine to get you in the festive mood!

"Wells Elsewhere" in Malaysia

Malaysia 2015 1While in Malaysia to audition potential new music students, Head Elizabeth Cairncross and Foundation CEO Mark Coote welcomed a number of distinguished guests to an evening reception at Newen's Tea House in Kuala Lumpur.

Supported by the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, the event was an opportunity to meet up with a number of former students and their families, as well as current and future students and their parents, and to bring news of the school's recent developments – including the construction of Cedars Hall.

Mark Stringer, Director of Music, introduced three specialist musicians from Wells who are all from Kuala Lumpur - cellist Ian Lum and pianists Julian Chan and Cameron Goon- who all performed parts of their current musical repertoire.

Mrs Vivian Chau, Principal of the Ann Perreau Music School, offered a generous vote of thanks, maintaining that the long-established relationship between her music school and Wells had brought world-class opportunities to talented children across Malaysia, and she looked forward to the next generation of inspiring students.

Click here for the full press release.

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Cellist Ian Lum plays 'The Swan' from Saint-Saens 'Carnival of the Animals' with pianist Cameron Goon.

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Specialist musicians (from left to right) Ian Lum, Julian Chan and Cameron Goon with Director of Music, Mark Stringer.

Cedars Hall goes up before our eyes!

IMG 0658To see the latest quadcopter flypast of the Cedars Hall development see it here

It is fascinating to see the building appear right before our eyes - it is literally changing on a daily basis. You can now see the different rooms and spaces and the potential for their use.

Cedars Hall Cocktail Parties

Cocktail for websiteOver three evenings in October the Foundation team put on special cocktail receptions to entertain parents of students at the school, parents whose children have left, Old Wellensians, and those staff and former staff members who were curious to find out more about Cedars Hall.

The Moscow Mules and Kir Royal cocktails proved to be very popular, but what people enjoyed the most were the tours of the Cedars Hall construction site, led by site manager Steve Maxwell and Deputy Head, Andy Kemp - both of whom are very enthusiastic about the build and love the Eric Parry design - especially as they can now see how the space in the building can be used as each area takes shape.

On the Friday evening we were joined by Old Wellensian Jamie Walton, who is an international cellist and is an ambassador for our Cedars Hall campaign. He is passionate about the need for Cedars Hall and was determined to come along and support the event – and to talk to parents about the multitude of benefits the new building will bring to the school, Wells and the rest of the South West.

OWs and the Royal Philharmonic

Joanna Marsh and friendsOld Wellensian Joanna Marsh (now Nettle), sent us in this great shot of herself with four fellow OWs. Joanna says: "The photo was taken in Turkey this August where we were playing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in concerts conducted by the legendary Charles Dutoit. We then went on to perform the same concert in the BBC Proms at the Albert Hall."

We always enjoy seeing photos of Old Wellies and finding out what everyone is doing these days – please feel free to email us with your news at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it – or you can log in and update your details via the The Old Wellensian website at

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From left to right: Joanna Marsh (flute), Pamela Ferriman (viola), Sian McInally (violin), Victoria Lyon (violin), Marcy Buta (violin) and Kate Suthers (violin.

And the roof goes on!

Cedars Hall roof - websiteIt was a very exciting week as the roof structure has been put in place on Cedars Hall. You can now see the measure of the build - the rooms are taking shape and a tour around the build now reveals the different spaces of the Hall and how they will be used.

For those who worried about the potentially imposing nature of the building, you can rest assured as it sits neatly on Cedars Field, out of sight of the main building behind the trees.

You can see the roof and structure taking place in this latest flypast of the site

A fabulous Family Fun Day!

Cindy Valutos webOver 300 Old Wellensians and current parents and their families turned out for our first ever Family Fun Day on 12th September 2015.

The sun came out from behind the torrential rain clouds just in time for the 2pm start. The children were treated to free popcorn and candy floss, a carousel and a bouncy slide. An archaeological dig, set up by Chris Eldridge and the history department kept many of the youngsters digging for treasure, while others chose to decorate a wellie or test their maths skills with puzzles and quizzes.

Adults were welcomed with a free glass of fizz before they delved into the history of the school in our archive display.

The day concluded with a social in the new sports pavilion - the first time many of those present had had a chance to see inside our new building.

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Cedars Hall flypast

DJI00125 websiteThe build for Cedars Hall is moving forward very swiftly - since this video was taken with our quadcopter, the roof has begun to go on. The contractors are on schedule and we are looking forward to the Summer when the Hall is due to be finished.

New York Reunion 2015

Lotos Club for web smallThis year our America and Canada Friends of Wells met in New York's prestigious Lotos Club for a reunion reception.

Mark Coote and Charles Cain travelled over to the States to meet up with former students of Wells including specialist musicians Katherine Lim, Vivian Yau, Sophie Gallagher and Jeremy Hao.

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Katherine Lim, Vivian Yau, Sophie Gallagher and Jeremy Hao.

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 Clark Collis, Adam Higginbotham with his wife Vanessa, and Charles Cain.

Old Wellensian Socials

3webThis December (2014) more than 70 Old Wellensians, staff and friends joined us for our Christmas Socials in London and Wells.

In London, alumni were joined by Charles Cain, Neil Bowen, Alison Armstrong and Lynne Walkey who retired from Wells at Christmas.

As ever, the atmosphere was fantastic, with old friends and classmates reunited over a glass of mulled wine or two!

Our next London Social will be held on Thursday 12th March – save the date!

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40th Anniversary of the Music School

TGroup Shot 2 for webhis year Wells celebrates 40 years of its Music School. Alan Quilter, Head of the school in 1974, had a vision to set up specialist music school and, with the help of grant funding from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, bought the former theological library on Cathedral Green. It was refurbished and then opened on 22nd June 1974 by Lord Goodman, the then Chairman of the Arts Council.

What started with 12 strings players has since blossomed into a faculty with over 200 specialist musicians in one of only four specialist music schools in England.

The year-long celebrations began with BBC Radio Somerset broadcasting live from the school. Elizabeth Cairncross and Charles Cain were interviewed - as were current music students, who were all asked to share their favourite piece of music with the listeners.

A special reception marked the occasion, bringing together a host of people who had witnessed the opening of the music school in 1974, among whom were William Whittle, former Director of Music, and Thomas Wright, who was Head Boy at the time.

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Lady Sarah Wright and her son Thomas, who was Head Boy in 1974.

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Anne wnd William Whittle. William was Director of Music in 1974.






Two new Foundation Fellows

Opening imageOur Annual Awards Evening this year saw two new Foundation Fellows being presented with their certificates and gifts.

Mei Yi Foo is an Old Wellensian (1996-1998), who is now an award-winning pianist. In 2013 she was awarded the Best Newcomer of the Year at the BBC Music Maganzine awards. She has performed all around the world.

Philip Dukes was also awarded a coveted Foundation Fellowship. He is also an Old Wellensian (1978-1985) who is currently Professor of Viola at the Royal Academy of Music. Read more about Philip and Mei Yi at

Mei Yi Foo presentation

The Very Reverend John Clarke, Mei Yi Foo, Charles Cain, John Baxter and Elizabeth Cairncross.

Philip Dukes presentation

Dorothy Nancekievill, The Very Reverend John Clarke, Philip Dukes, John Baxter and Elizabeth Cairncross.


Girl Chorister Reunion

Former girls at the lunch for webSome 33 former girl chorister and their families were reunited at Wells Cathedral School on Saturday 18th October for a 20th Anniversary celebratory lunch.

The ladies were joined by former Master of the Choristers and Organists Tony Crossland, Malcolm Archer and Rupert Gough for this special occasion.

Guests were given a warm welcome by Director of External Relations, Mark Coote, Head Elizabeth Cairncross and Former Head John Baxter via a video message at a drinks reception in Cedars Drawing Room. A spectacular lunch was then enjoyed by all 86 guests, including the current girl choristers.

The girls then left to rehearse for cathedral Evensong at which all the former girl choristers performed, with the Vicar Choral. A new anthem, 'Christus Est Stella', written by Stuart Beer in honour of this anniversary service, was premiered.

Our thanks to all the girls that came back to their old school and made it such a special day.

Guest Artist Recital makes £530

FOM concert smallSunday 14th September saw a packed audience enjoying an afternoon of masterpieces in the Concert Hall, including works by Bartok, Prokofiev, Martinu and Shostakovich, played by three talented musicians - Catherine Lord on the violin, Elizabeth Anderson playing the 'cello and Lydia Scadding on the pinao. The concert was organised by the Friends of Music and raised an impressive £530 for Cedars Hall.

pdfClick here for a poster of the concert.

A capital summer social!

Best 4 webLast Thursday, 12th June 2014, we were delighted to be joined by a record number of Old Wellensians at the Salisbury Pub in Covent Garden.

Old Wellensians packed into the venue to see former Head John Baxter, Charles and Hilary Cain, David and Sally Rowley and Duncan Gowan.

We were thrilled to see some returning alumni who attended our very first OW Social – back in May 2011 – as well as our regulars (gold stars to class of 2002!) and newbies.

These informal alumni socials take place every quarter in Central London on the second Thursday of the month - in September, December, March and June – and all alumni, former staff and friends of the school are welcome to join us.

For more information, please contact Annie Jones, Development Associate T: 01749 834254 E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Ex-Head John Baxter came along to get back in touch with Old Wellies.

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David Rowley and Charles Cain enjoyed meeting old friends.

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Our socials take place every quarter - Sally Rowley came to the June evening.

The Far East Comes West

small for webWe are delighted to welcome children from the Alliance Primary School, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong who will be performing at two concerts on Thursday, 24th April 2014.

The first will be a lunchtime concert at 1pm in Wells Cathedral - all are welcome and it is free admission.

The children will then be performing from 7pm at St Cuthbert's Church in a special event featuring music in Mandarin, Cantonese and English.

For further details, please call Annie on 01749 834254.

pdfClick here for more details of the lunchtiome concert, and pdfclick here for details of the evening event.



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