Exciting Music-Making at St John’s Cambridge!

Following on from the last story we can report other triumphs in the L’Estrange household! Alexander and his wife Joanna Forbes L’Estrange are delighted both their sons are pupils at St John’s College School and choristers at St John’s College, Cambridge. The boys are busy preparing for the College Choir’s trip to the Far East later this month. Click the link below to hear Director of Music Andrew Nethsingha speak about what music concert goers in Hong Kong and Singapore will be enjoying:


Earlier this  month Joanna’s newly-formed a cappella singing group gave its inaugural performance in the Old Divinity School, St John’s College alongside the new College Jazz Band.  Aquila is made up of female students and staff from St John’s and on this occasion sang music written or arranged by females in celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Joanna has a wealth of experience in singing, coaching and conducting and for seven years was a soprano and Musical Director with The Swingle Singers. When she was working as a judge for the Sky 1 series Sing:Ultimate A Cappella she thought there weren’t enough female groups. So she was delighted to be approached by Andrew Nethsingha to start up the first all-female College group.

“It’s something I’m passionate about,” says Joanna. “The opportunity to form a group from scratch and to run it for a few years was very exciting to me. Both of my sons are choristers in the Chapel Choir so it’s lovely to be able to be part of the College in this way while they are here. I have always loved coaching groups and I get a huge buzz from watching them improve week by week. I’ve also written a lot of songs for upper voices and jazz band so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to collaborate with Ollie Lepage-Dean’s new jazz band for our next appearance.”

Ollie was a chorister at St John’s and went on to study music at Trinity College of Music and, like Joanna, was only too happy to set up the College Jazz Band.He is a vocalist and keyboard player in six-piece jazz band Mode9 which will be performing live at Jazz@John’s on 27 April.

Since taking over as Chairman of the Music Society last October, Andrew has been keen to make the College’s music-making more inclusive and more wide-ranging. Writing on the College website he says that as well as Aquila and the Jazz Band there has been “the opportunity to ‘Come and Sing’ with the College’s two main choirs, a Songwriters’ workshop, and a broader range of performers at the lunchtime concerts and Combination Room concert. We have lots more plans for the future; meanwhile it is exciting that College music-making, aided by our fine new Music Administrator, Sophie Kirk, has generated such momentum.”