Swansong for head of music at high school in Morpeth

Two concerts were the ideal opportunity to bade a fond farewell to one of the longest serving members of staff at Morpeth’s high school.

Robin Forbes, music subject leader, will retire at the end of term. He joined King Edward VI School in September 1996.

Both occasions saw students and staff, past and present come together to show their appreciation for his work at the school over the last quarter of a century.

The traditional KEVI Summer Concert began with Year 13 student Elizabeth Bennett joining the orchestra to deliver Orpheus in the Underworld Overture. Elizabeth has been offered a place at Harvard next year to study music.

Robin Forbes, music subject leader at King Edward VI School.

Performances by the Steel Pan Band, Chamber Choir, Ceilidh Band, Jazz Band and Choir followed, showcasing the huge range of talent at the school.

A second concert at St James’ Church was filled with contributions from alumni who over the last 26 years have been inspired by Robin’s teaching.

Many have gone on to professional music careers such as Charlotte Christensen, who has trained and performed with the Royal Academy of Music and flew in from Germany to perform Mr Snow from Carousel, whilst Alex Banfield, a British opera and concert tenor who left KEVI in 2008, performed Mattinata by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

Headteacher Clare Savage said: “Robin has always insisted that the point of being a musician is to perform and therefore his commitment to giving every student the chance to play in front of an audience is at the centre of everything he does.

“The personal loyalty and commitment that he has managed to create was evident in every performance and it was an honour to see so many students, parents and staff – both past and present – come along to let Robin know how much he means to them.”

Robin’s career has seen him take students on tour across Europe and has included student performances at St Mark’s in Venice and the Duomo in Florence.

The school has also benefited from him leading many varied extra curricular events over the years.

In response to wonderful ovations at both concerts, Robin acknowledged the constant support and expertise of departmental colleague Heather Harrison and the many other staff and community musicians who have enriched the breadth and depth of music provision at KEVI over the years.