We welcome the Milton Abbey School Choir to Grace Church on Thursday 27 March at Noon. The choir will offer a fifty minute program of music including works by: Goodall, Rutter, Howells, Hogan, Bjoesen, Erb and Hatfield. On tour from the UK, the Choir is directed by Davide McKee. This program is free and open to the public.
Milton Abbey School is a co-educational independent school in Dorset, England, founded in 1954. The School is built around a striking 18th century mansion house and a beautiful 13th century abbey church, once a Benedictine monastery. The School has a rural campus steeped in history, with facilities that include: a gym, swimming pool, shooting range, golf course, a 320-seat theatre, an astro turf, an outward bound area, a 15th-century dining hall, and grounds designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
Music is flourishing at Milton Abbey, under the directorship of David McKee, assisted by Shaun Pirttijarvi.
Music at Milton Abbey is varied and vibrant with weekly ensembles including a Chamber Choir, Brass Group, Close Harmony, Abbey Choir, Jazz Band, Choral Society and Girls’ Choir. In addition, pupil bands and groups are encouraged. There are several pupil led rock and pop groups who rehearse in the Department’s superb recording studio and rock room during afternoon activity slots. Everybody is involved at some level, ranging from Congregational Practice with the whole School on a Friday morning and the House Music Competition, to small chamber ensembles.
David McKee was educated at Oakham School where he was a Music Scholar. After school, he spent a year in Truro, where he was a choral scholar in the Cathedral Choir. He studied Music at both undergraduate and postgraduate level at Exeter University. During this time he was busy as both a singer and a conductor in and around Exeter. He was a full time member of Exeter Cathedral Choir, and directed the Exeter University Singers and the Wesley Singers who performed numerous concerts in and around Exeter.
David moved to Surrey on completing his MA where he worked for the Royal School of Church Music. He became Musical Director of Carshalton Choral Society in September 2005 which he combined with the post of Assistant Director of Music at Brighton and Hove High School. During this time he was also a member of the choir at St. Peter’s Church Eaton Square, and sang regularly as a deputy in Westminster Abbey, St Georges’ Chapel Windsor Castle and St Paul’s Cathedral Choirs. He subsequently moved to Norwich as a Bass Lay-Clerk at Norwich Cathedral which he combined with teaching music at Notre Dame High School in Norwich.
On completion of his teacher training David taught Music at Gresham’s School and conducted Norwich Cathedral Consort, Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society, Cromer and Sheringham Operatic Society as well as acting as Chorus Master for Norwich and Norfolk Festival Chorus. He relocated to Dorset in January 2012 as Director of Music at Milton Abbey School where he has formed Milton Abbey Choral Society and directed the first Milton Abbey International Music Festival & Summer School in 2013.
From September 2014, David will be taking up the post of Director of Music at Cheltenham College.