From Deepings School music room to a night at the Proms

PROM PERFORMANCE: Jacob Webb and Amileah Richards, A-level music and science students at The Deepings School, have been invited to perform at the Music for Youth Schools' Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on November 23.
PROM PERFORMANCE: Jacob Webb and Amileah Richards, A-level music and science students at The Deepings School, have been invited to perform at the Music for Youth Schools' Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on November 23.
  • Talented music students edge closer to their big night

Amileah Richards (18) of Spalding and Jacob Webb (17) of Deeping St James, pianist and flutist respectively, share one overriding priority over the next four weeks.

Amileah Richards (18) of Spalding and Jacob Webb (17) of Deeping St James, pianist and flutist respectively, share one overriding priority over the next four weeks.

The A-level music students at The Deepings School will be hoping, above all else, for there to be no repeat of the last time they played together when they take centre stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Monday, November 23.

Amileah and Jacob will be playing two pieces, one of them their own work, at the Music for Youth Schools’ Prom to be staged at the same venue where music maestros as diverse as Sir Edward Elgar, The Beatles, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Pink Floyd have starred.

But the students will be looking to avoid their last musical experience at the school’s annual presentation evening in Peterborough last month.

Amileah said: “We went to the gym and then showered just before going to Peterborough, so we were both ready to sleep.

DYNAMIC DUO: Jacob and Amileah with Ann Flint (back left) and Kathryn Sutton at The Deepings School.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

DYNAMIC DUO: Jacob and Amileah with Ann Flint (back left) and Kathryn Sutton at The Deepings School. Photo by Tim Wilson.

“As a result, we were drifting off as we were playing and when we got to our own piece, my mind went blank and I stopped.”

Jacob added: “Our faces were on a screen behind us as we were playing so people could see that we looked a little bit startled.

“It went really badly to begin with, but we got back into it and then we were fine.”

The pair’s musical partnership started about five years ago after Amileah was inspired by seeing Jacob and a friend playing the piano in one of the school’s music rooms.

Amileah and Jacob are both extremely talented and dedicated musicians who have a fantastic chemistry between them when they are performing

Kathryn Sutton, head of music at The Deepings School

“There were lots of people in the room so I just went in with all of my friends and saw them playing,” Amileah said.

“It looked amazing so Jacob began teaching me to play the piano before I had my own keyboard lessons about four years and then actual piano lessons last year.”

Jacob added: “Amileah became better than me and we started to write our own piano duet compositions for us to play.”

After forming a music group called Default with some of their friends at The Deepings School, Amileah and Jacob’s opportunities to play together led to their entry in the annual Music for Youth festival.

Made up of more than 50 festivals nationwide, Music for Youth gives about 40,000 talented young musicians aged 21 and under a chance to play and receive feedback from experienced performers specially chosen to mentor the next generation of maestros.

Jacob said: “I did Music for Youth a few years ago so I entered Amileah and myself for one of the regional festivals in Boston in March.

“The organisers said there was a chance for us to get through to the next around, although it doesn’t happen often.”

“So we just thought of going there to play and enjoy ourselves, but at the end we were asked if we’d like to perform at the Music for Youth National Festival in Birmingham in June.

“We were really pleased and a couple of weeks after performing in Birmingham, we were told that we could perform at the Royal Albert Hall, London.”

Amileah added: “We thought that we wouldn’t get through because it felt like months since we played in Birmingham.

“But then our flute teacher at school sent an email to Jacob to tell him we’d been selected and, to my surprise, he called me up one morning and gave me the news.

“At the time, I had a sore throat so all Jacob could hear was just squealing down the phone.”

Amileah and Jacob are being helped in their preparation for the Music for Youth Schools’ Prom next month by head of music at The Deepings School, Kathryn Sutton, as well as flute teacher Ann Wright and piano teacher Ruth Adams from Lincolnshire Music Service.

Miss Sutton said: “Amileah and Jacob are both extremely talented and dedicated musicians who have a fantastic chemistry between them when they are performing.

“They are still keeping with their weekly practice sessions, although both pieces are now pretty much complete.

“The music department and The Deepings School as a whole are extremely proud of both of them because having the opportunity to play at the Royal Albert Hall is a great honour and I know they are both very excited.

“But Amileah and Jacob have been given this opportunity through their own hard work, dedication and talent, so they deserve this very exciting opportunity.

“The music department wishes them all the luck in the world for their performance next month.”

The A-level pair are juggling their preparation for the Prom night with other A-level course work in biology and chemistry as they strive to get the two pieces they will play on the night absolutely perfect.

One of the pieces is their own arrangement of the theme to TV’s The Simpsons by film composer Danny Elfman and a composition they wrote called Louisa’s Lullaby.

Amileah said: “We’ve made a couple of adjustments to our pieces from what the judges told us in Birmingham by adding a few more complex flute and piano parts which we’re practising at school.

“We’re honoured to have made it this far in Music for Youth and it’s made us realise that the opportunity to share what we both love doing most can’t be taken for granted.”

Jacob added: “We really want this to lead on to another opportunity, especially after one of the judges told us to keep practising because she loved our ideas and would like to see more of us.”

Deeping dynamic duo at Prom