The King Edward VI School celebrated the career of one of its longest serving members of staff this weekend with two concerts to mark the end of his 26 years at the school.

Robin Forbes – Subject Leader of Music, who will retire at the end of term joined the school in September 1996 and the concerts saw students and staff, both 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.  Performances by the Steel Pan Band, Chamber Choir, Ceilidh Band, Jazz Band and Choir followed, showcasing a huge array of talent from the school.

A second concert at St James Church Morpeth, was filled with contributions from alumni who, over the last 26 years have been privileged to 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 King Edward’s in 2008 performed Mattinata by Ruggero Leoncavallo.  

Headteacher Clare Savage commented.

“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 Robin has managed to create was evident in every performance on Saturday 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 Marks in Venice and the Duomo in Florence. The school has also benefited from him leading many varied extra curricular events over the years including Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah and Mozart’s Requiem as well as traditional Musicals and Carol Services.  

In response to a wonderful ovation, 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 King Edward’s over the years. His unique talent has been to bring so many young people and adults together to provide a very special experience.