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Trust's new director of music confirmed

Published on 04/08/17

A Norfolk musician has been appointed to lead music at the Inspiration Trust - including the school where he honed his craft as a youngster.

John Stephens will start as director of music in September, with a brief to encourage music both on and off the curriculum at the charity's 14 schools across East Anglia.

His work will include music at the trust's newest school - Great Yarmouth Charter Academy - where Mr Stephens was once head boy.

Mr Stephens was born and grew up in the coastal town, where he developed his passion for singing and performing, particularly piano and organ - including playing the school's own pipe organ.

He won a Norwich Diocesan organ scholarship before reading for his music degree at the University of East Anglia. He also holds a masters degree in conducting.

Mr Stephens has worked as a musical director in France, Kenya, and the United States, as well as for The Orchestrate! Project and Dusmagrik Young People’s Theatre Company in Norfolk.

Since 2006 he has been director of music at Great Yarmouth Minster.

Outside of music, Mr Stephens is a regularly visitor to Great Yarmouth's twin town of Rambouillet in France, and is currently chairman of the Great Yarmouth Twinning Association.

Mr Stephens said: "The trust is offering a unique opportunity for a practical musician with a passion for education to enable social change in the young people it serves, through high quality musical endeavour.

"When the inclusion of music within school life is experiencing great pressure nationally, it’s so refreshing to find a trust within my home county of Norfolk which is prepared to put time, energy and resources into the development of both curricular and extra-curricula music - recognising that musical learning has many non-musical benefits, both for individual students and the communal life of a school.”

Trust director of education Christine Counsell said: "John is a remarkably accomplished musician and musical director, and we are delighted that he will be championing the work of staff and students across our schools.

“The chance to sing or play, to learn how to do so properly and to enjoy working in ensembles, is a transformational experience. It builds confidence, wide cultural knowledge, self-discipline, a team spirit and a wonderful sense of well-being. John will be key in bringing these things to as many students as possible.”