Sherborne Girls celebrated the official opening of its new arts centre, The Merritt Centre, on Wednesday 26 June with a spectacular concert featuring Dame Emma Kirkby, former pupil and world-renowned soprano. Dame Emma carried out the formal ‘ribbon-cutting’ ceremony before taking to the stage to perform alongside the school’s senior choir in a memorable event that truly showcased the recital hall’s magnificent acoustics.
The opening concert was the highlight in a week-long series of creative, musical and theatrical performances, many of which were open to the public. They included a concert by the Aquinas Piano Trio, Sherborne School Barbershop, String Ensembles, DJ sets, poetry performances - all of which put their abundant creative talents firmly in the spotlight.
The magnificent new facility, which took two years to construct, boasts a concert hall that seats an audience of 305 or 500 theatre-style; practice rooms; a recording studio and multi-use social spaces which have spectacular views across the playing fields.
As part of the school’s aim to build on and strengthen its relations with the wider Sherborne community, it is planned that local schools and community organisations will be able to use the venue, with the National Children’s Orchestra, Sherborne Abbey Music Festival and TEDxSherborne having already tested it out!
Dr Ruth Sullivan, Headmistress, said:
“We are delighted that Dame Emma was able to open this fabulous new facility. Music and the Arts have always been central to life at Sherborne Girls and we are thrilled that we now have a venue that can cater for the increasing number of girls playing instruments, singing in choirs or involved in speech and drama.
“The added bonus of being able to share the venue with our local community gives it a whole extra dimension and we look forward to welcoming visitors and planning exciting, inspiring events.”
To view more images from the opening ceremony, please see our Flickr Gallery in the School Stories section of the website.