Congratulations to former student Peter Ash – “Best Newcomer” at the NTA’s

Congratulations to former student Peter Ash – “Best Newcomer” at the NTA’s

Here at Xaverian we are always pleased to see a former student be successful. Peter, who studied A-levels in Media, Drama and English at the college from 2001 to 2003 won a 2020 National Television Award for ‘Best Newcomer’ for his role in Coronation Street. After leaving the college Peter secured a place at Glasgow School of Music and Drama and at 18 years old played Darius Fry, the teen twinkle-toes of ITV1’s Footballers’ Wives.

Peter’s Drama teacher said,  “Peter was an instinctive actor who knew everything about his character almost immediately. He showed an impressive level of professionalism and commitment. He has a place next year at the Glasgow School of Music and Drama.” After roles in shows like Casualty, The Royal and Hollyoaks Peter is currently settled in the role of Paul Foreman in Coronation Street for which in won his NTA.

Once again a massive congratulations to Peter on all his success and his win at the NTAs. Well deserved.

ARTiculation – Public Speaking Competition

ARTiculation, the national public speaking competition, which promotes and supports young people to Look, Think and Speak about art, held its North West Regional Final at the Whitworth Art Gallery.  Over 1,000 students enter The ARTiculation Prize in England every year and has reached over 20,000 young people since it was established 12 years ago. The competition  champions students, aged between 16 – 19 regardless of background and experience, providing a platform on which students can develop their confidence and ability to express their opinions, thoughts and ideas, through the arts and public speaking.  The Regional Final saw students aged 16 – 19 deliver a ten minute-presentations about a work of art, architecture or an artefact of their choice in front of an audience and an adjudicator.

Xaverian College entered Charles Lee to the competition.  His presentation was on the topic of architecture, specifically looking at the Proud Trust centre on Sydney Street, which is a post-modernist building that was erected in the 1980s and purpose built to be an LGBT+ centre. It is to this day the only such purpose built community centre designed for the LGBT+ community.

Charles said, “Alongside being mentored by Whitworth workers who helped me with the organisation and academic language of my presentation the actual content of my talk was gathered thanks to the work of architect Emily Crompton, who had access to historical files about the centre and had been researching it in preparation for designing a new centre building, as the old building will be demolished. I read through the documents she sent me, which consisted of newspaper cuttings, surveys conducted by the centre staff and her own research of the pre-construction history of the building such as the difficulty of finding a building site. I also sought advice from workers of the centre who were present for all this history to make sure I wasn’t misrepresenting historical facts.”

Roger Harding, Chief Executive, RECLAIM; and Dr Niccola Shearman, Lecturer in History of Art, University of Manchester adjudicated this event. Following a discussion amongst the panel the winners was announced – our very own Charles Lee!  He will now go through to the Grand Final at Clare College, Cambridge.  Upon awarding Charles with the day’s top prize, the adjudicators praised Charles for his original and bold presentation and social interests.

Charles added “I’m overjoyed that I’ve won as I put masses of effort into putting together my presentation and rehearsing to ensure my performance was the best it could me, so I’m glad my effort has yielded an amazing result. I’m also happy to be talking about a building very near and dear to me, and I’m grateful for this chance to represent an important but frequently overlooked part of Mancunian history. So while I am nervous about the final round and I’m aware the competition is going to be tough I’m just glad I’ve got this far and have a chance to speak about something I’m passionate about. Though of course I hope I win the overall contest.”

Politics, History and Law – Parliament Trip

After a very early train from Manchester, the group of Xaverian Law and History students arrived safely into Euston.

They embarked on a whistle stop walk to Parliament taking in the sights and photo opportunities at Trafalgar Square and Buckingham palace. After a brief food stop for refreshments they arrived at the Parliament Education Centre.  There they went on a guided tour around the Palace of Westminster.

The students were very excited to get to sit and watch a debate in the House of Commons, and see politicians debate the situation in Iran. Students spotted Teresa May, listened to Dominic Raab, Emily thornberry, Jeremy Hunt and Hilary Benn.  After this we went to see the Great Hall where Guy Fawkes was originally sentenced as well as walking past Emily Davison’s suffragette scarf.

The group then took part in a Law and debating workshop. They came up with a controversial debate to discuss which was whether private transport should be banned. Students had to participate with rules of the house, bobbing to contribute and adding right honourable friend in response to their statements. As well as an excellent turn as speaker of the house by Sally Coogan.

After the debate, our MP Afzal Khan came along to answer brilliant questions from the students which was very insightful as he revealed what he really thought of Jeremy Corbyn, who he nominated for Labour leader and who his top 3 candidates for leadership were and why. He also answered a very topical question about knife crime and the causes and solutions.

After the busy events at Parliament the group had a brief visit to the Supreme Court and got to tour the different court rooms as well as the court where Lady Hale passed her recent decision on Johnson’s proroguation of Parliament.

The group then walked onwards to Covent Garden to have a rest and some dinner before the train home.  Xaverian History Teacher, Ciara Lawrence said, “Our students were exceptional and were complimented numerous times due to their enthusiasm and great questions. We arrived back in Manchester very tired but happy with all the sights seen and experiences gained.”

Xaverian Christmas Music Concert

The Xaverian College Christmas Concert was held at the Royal Northern College of Manchester, and was performed in front of a sold-out audience, this also included the top tier balcony which is a remarkable feat for any concert at the RNCM.  The Honourable Lord Mayor of Manchester and the Bishop of Salford Diocese were guests of honour.  The concert consisted of 130 Xaverian students, music staff, peripatetic staff, prospective Xaverian students and some of the college’s finest former pupils.

The evening began with the wonderful Concert Choir, directed and conducted by Ged Marciniak, they set the festive tone for the evening by performing a selection of movements from A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten.  The Concert Choir was accompanied by the wonderful harpist Elinor Nicholson and was also conducted by one of the college’s finest lower 6 students, Alfie Bousfield.

Following this the Flute Group, directed by Jennifer Dyson, performed a selection of movements from The Nutcracker by P. I Tchaikovsky.  Neil Bowden then conducted the college’s brilliant Brass Band in a performance of Born Free by John Barry and Wrath by Peter Graham.

The concert continued with the Clarinet Group performing some folk inspired music composed and arranged by Coen Wolfgram, they performed his klezmer Suite.  The Clarinet Group were directed by Katherine Blumer.

The incredible Xaverian Big Band, directed by Neil Bowden, then performed Conga by Gloria Estefan/Enrique and Smooth Operator by Sade Adu/Ray St. John.  Following the Big Band, Kyran Matthews directed the Jazz Group in a performance of Spain by Chick Corea.

The first half concluded in the Christmas spirit with the college’s String Orchestra performing Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.  The String Orchestra were conducted and directed by Duncan Reid with Pascal Darley and Megan Hindle on solo violin with Andrew Rogers on solo cello.

The second half opened with the vibrant and flamboyant Percussion Group directed by Joe Luckin.  They performed with their usual energetic manner, starting with Clapping Music by Steve Reich followed by Alarm by Brian Blume.

Thomas Hopkinson and Rachel Abbott then directed the Chamber Choir, they set a reflective, spiritual and seasonal mood.  The Chamber Choir have enjoyed a number of exciting performance opportunities in 2019, including premiering the first piece of their programme at Manchester Cathedral in November.  They sang The Parting Shot by Nicola Lefanu, Adam Lay Ybounden by Boris Ord and Nativity Carol by John Rutter.

Before the Orchestra took to the stage the internationally acclaimed and award-winning A4 Brass Quartet performed some well-known Christmas songs. A4 Brass are Xaverian’s professional ensemble in residence.  The quartet comprises of principal players from some of the UK’s top brass bands, including Black Dyke, Grimethorpe Colliery, Brighouse & Rastrick and Foden’s.  With “technical virtuosity in abundance” these four astonishing musicians perform both lyrical and high-octane works, forming a distinctive and new take on chamber music.  They dazzled the audience with Carol of The Bells arranged by Jonathan Bates, Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner arranged by Chris Robertson and Now Bring Us Some Fuguey Pudding arranged by Jonathan Bates.

The Xaverian Orchestra made up of 120 musicians concluded the concert, they are by far the largest 6th form college ensemble in the UK.  Andrew Levendis conducted the ensemble with an ambitious programme of Persian March by Johann Strauss, Game of Thrones arranged Jay Bocook, Music from The Incredibles by Michael Giacchino, the ”1812” Overture by P. I Tchaikovsky and A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson.

To end the evening, the Xaverian Orchestra performed Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride as an encore.

The audience gave 3 standing ovations during the Orchestra’s powerful performance.

On show were the highly acclaimed Xaverian ensembles; performances can be seen and heard via the Xaverian Music Department YouTube Channel.

Criminology Conference

Xaverian students attended the annual Criminology Conference hosted at the Sheridan Suite.  The speakers presented an array of talks that discussed real life evidence and current practical research in the field of lie detection, domestic abuse survival and what led two former criminals to turn their lives around. All of which brought a sharp and stark message that the room we filled did not echo the reality of the impact and findings of criminal psychology.

Delegates began the day by being presented with statistics and evidence of the growing and increasingly life threatening effects of domestic abuse, including the terrifyingly high statistics including that 1 out of 5 teens experience domestic abuse in relationships. Dr Lyndsey Harris engaged students with her kahoot quiz that soon had the audience gasping at the prevalence of such issues; she presented evidence from case studies into survivors and their experience through the criminal justice system. Dr Irene Zempi presented her auto ethnography research, where she dressed in an Islamic burqa including the niqab, to experience the daily social lives of women she interviewed regarding Islamophobia.

Students gained an insight into the qualitative methods used and the rich data and experience that can be recorded from such research. Dr Zoe Walkington presented on the Psychology of lie detection, explaining how the polygraph has been decommissioned as a tool used in UK courts to serve as evidence of deception.

Students were given evidence for this including the complexity of human physiological responses and the conduction of these via the polygraph. For example, how fear and deception can appear to be the same on the ambiguous lie detector graph.

The day was brought to an end by the presentation from two retired criminals and authors, the “Mafia Princess” Marisa Merico; and Noel ‘Razor’ Smith author of “A few kind words and a Loaded Gun”. Marisa depicted her struggle choosing between the life of glamour with her father’s criminal family and the life of poor comforts with her mother. At 24 she was arrested for money laundering and now 25 years later she hosts talks to highlight the housing and care of women in prisons. Noel depicts his spiral into criminality and his experiences in prison during the 80’s, echoing the words of Marisa stating that prisons need reforms. He now sits as editor of the Prison Service Journal, shared nationwide amongst inmates in HMP.

Psychology Teacher, Miss MackIntosh said, “Above all our students left having really enjoyed the conference, especially the talks given by Mr. Smith and the psychologist – they were great speakers and we were fully invested in what they had to say.  The day was well organised and I would recommend others to attend lectures like this one.  We were given an insight on areas of psychology, criminal lives and the cyber world was really informative and easy to digest.”

Mock Trial Competition

Xaverian College Law students once again took competed in the Bar Mock Trial Competition.  Organised and delivered by the national Young Citizenship foundation, students competed against twelve institutions across Greater Manchester in Minshull St Crown Court.

The Mock Trial Competitions are the Young Citizens longest-running active learning experiences. Since 1991, they’ve provided unparalleled exposure to the judicial system, its venues and access to senior legal professionals. Each year they help tens of thousands of young people experience what it means to be an active citizen. This could be through taking part in our various educational resources or many citizenship experiences.  They also campaign for those in power to recognise that democracy cannot flourish unless everyone has the opportunity to learn how to become a citizen. They were instrumental in getting Citizenship into the national curriculum as a statutory subject.

The day was a culmination of months of preparation from our student barristers and witnesses. Our eight individuals concerned have given up their free time every week since June, they even came in during their summer holiday, such was their dedication. As a result, we came 5th on the day and given the level of competition and experience of other teams, our team should feel extremely proud.

Students have been working with our Barrister Mentor Fiona Clancy of Exchange Chambers. Fiona consistently remarked that the advocacy skills of our students would not be out of place for some of the trainee barristers she mentors as part of her job. The students were asked to prepare questions for their examination in chief, prepare for the cross examination of opposition witnesses and were to deliver opening and closing arguments for their cases. The judges presiding over the three rounds were extremely positive in their feedback of our performance stating that the students were confident in their delivery, thoroughly prepared for their cases, posing challenging questions in their cross examination.

This competition remains a welcome opportunity for our students to develop their advocacy skills and make amazing friendships. Auditions for the 2020 competition will begin in February with all Law students given the opportunity to compete for a place on the final 8. This year’s cohort have agreed to help out with auditions to provide guidance to the successful students.

Well done to Xaverian Mock Trial team! Pictured (right): Paige Russell, Mia O’Gorman, Hannah Thompson, Bethany Fraine, Josh Bridgeman, Nimaat Kausar, Molly Stringer and Bonita Rostron.

Young Musician of the Year 2019

The Xaverian College Young Musician of The Year Competition was held recently in front of a packed house in the college’s Drama Studio. There was a record number of entries this year and the musicians demonstrated an extremely high level of performance.

The competition has been running for many years and assists students in their preparations for conservatoire and university auditions; giving them invaluable performance experience.

The panel consisted of Xaverian College music teachers and peripatetic instrumental tutors.

The results are as follows:

1st – Josh Hart: Electric Guitar

2nd – Eden Devaney: Voice

Joint 3rd – Alfie Bousfield: Euphonium & Bradley Gore: Alto Saxophone

The adjudication of this year’s competition was extremely difficult. It was an absolute pleasure to hear musicians perform with such maturity, confidence and musicality.

Andrew Levendis

Director of Music

RNCM Performance Masterclass

The RNCM visit Xaverian College on an annual basis to run a Performance Masterclass.  Students receive extensive feedback for their performances and are guided on how to prepare for auditions, competitions and recitals.

The RNCM coached our fantastic students, they conducted 2 classes simultaneously; 1 for classical and 1 for pop/jazz musicians.  Senior representatives, Chris Hoyle (Head of strings), Kevin Gowland (Director of Woodwind and Deputy Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion) and Andy Stott (Head of Popular Music) led the event.  The feedback enabled students to improve posture, communication, phrasing, interpretation, technique and musicianship.

“What a wonderful opportunity for our students, they were focused, driven and were eager to learn.  They performed exceptionally well and are now inspired to progress to the next level and fulfil their potential.” – Andrew Levendis, Director of Music Xaverian College.

Classical Civilisation and Ancient History trip to Greece

Just before the half term Xaverian Classics and Ancient History students set out for four days in Athens and Delphi. They visited the magnificent temple of the Parthenon and the acropolis citadel and some of the world’s finest archaeological museums. The temperature was 27C and the students bathed in sunshine as they visited the very cradle of democracy.

They then moved out of the city to see the sacred ancient site of Delphi set high up in the mountains. The views were breath-taking both from the hotel and aloft in the classical athletics’ stadium. We all enjoyed some of the finest Greek cuisine and a visit to some charming artisan shops. Educational and enlightening but most of all one last blast of summer before the winter sets in. All for a very reasonable price too! Alison Hall our Head of Politics also went on the trip. She said, “It was great to see Greece but most importantly the students had a great experience and it really brought their studies to life”

Xaverian College is one of a small number of colleges that offer both Classical Civilisation and Ancient History together and we have excellent results and progression rates for students who study these subjects. A third of our successful Oxbridge candidates studied Classics. To find out more check out our latest prospectus or the course section of the website.

Media City Careers Day

While everyone else spent their summer moaning they had no money to go out and watching endless sitcoms on Netflix, twelve Media Studies students gave their media careers a real boost by attending a Careers Day at the BBC in Media City in Salford. Thanks to Nancy Cole for telling us all about the trip.

“When we arrived, we were taken for a tour of the children’s studios where we got to meet some of the presenters, producers and directors of CBeebies, CBBC HQ and Newsround. This included a nostalgic trip back to our childhoods by meeting Dodge, who we now sadly now know is’t a real Border Terrier dog from Wigan, but is actually a puppet.

After the tour we went to a Q&A with a panel of senior BBC staff who told us about their job roles, how they got into the media and their time in the industry. The senior panel was then followed by a similar Q&A with a panel of millennial staff from the BBC. These were interesting as we were able to find out a lot more about the careers we are looking to go into and the ways we are able to get into the industry.

We then had lunch, which was spent networking with staff at the BBC, where we had the opportunity to talk to people who are currently working in the jobs that we are looking to go into. We enjoyed this part of the day as we were able to ask questions in depth about their roles in a one-to-one conversation. The people we had the opportunity to speak to have a variety of job roles including producers, online content creators, finance,

After the networking session we were given advice about CV’s, applications, apprenticeships, opportunities for work experience and starter schemes, so we knew how to apply for all the exciting jobs we had found out about and.

The day at the BBC was really informative and we had a great time.”