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Music Staff

CHRISTOPHER SPARKHALL – DIRECTOR OF MUSIC

MA (Oxon), PGCE (Cantab), ARCO

Christopher was a music scholar at the King's School, Gloucester, and 6th form organ scholar at Gloucester Cathedral from 1994 to 1995, studying under David Briggs. In 1995 he won the organ scholarship at Worcester College Oxford, where, in addition to reading for an MA in Music, he conducted the highly regarded men and boys' choir for nearly three years. In his final year he also gained the ARCO diploma. Christopher then studied for his PGCE at Cambridge. He was appointed Assistant Director of Music at Canford School in 1999 and subsequently Director of Music in September 2005. At Canford, Christopher conducts the Chapel and Chamber Choirs as well as the Choral Society and the Jazz Band, as well as teaching the academic music curriculum at Shell (yr 9), GCSE and A level. He teaches both piano and organ and accompanies many pupils for their exams and concerts. Christopher has also been both director and musical director for musical shows in the theatre, one of which he co-wrote.

In addition to his work at Canford, Christopher is an examiner for the ABRSM, a non-executive Director of the Poole Arts Trust, and sings with a semi-professional chamber choir, ‘Sarum Voices’. He also co-directs the Avon Valley Youth Choir.

RUTH PARTINGTON - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF MUSIC (ACADEMIC)

BMus (Manchester), PGCE

Ruth Partington joined Canford as Assistant Director of Music (Academic) from King Henry VIII School in Coventry where she held a similar role.  Prior to that she was Head of Music at St Stephen’s International School in Bangkok, Thailand, for two years.  Before making the decision to work abroad Ruth had been Head of Woodwind at Canford School for 4 years.

She holds a first class MusB (Hons) in Music from The University of Manchester, a PGDip(Perf) and the prestigious PPRNCM from the Royal Northern College of Music.  She teaches academic Music at Canford from Shell to Upper 6th, runs the Orchestra and is involved with numerous other ensembles.

Elsewhere at Canford, Ruth has a level one coaching qualification from the English Lacrosse Association and coaches lacrosse and tennis.  She has previously been involved with the Canford Partnership to Argentina.

JAMES AIKEN - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF MUSIC (INSTRUMENTAL)

MA (Oxon)

James’ first experience of Canford was as a Music Scholar, with the French Horn as his principal instrument. During his time at Canford he achieved Grade 8 on both this instrument and Organ, the latter with distinction. In 2006, James was awarded the Organ Scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford. Whilst reading for a BA in music, as Organ Scholar, he was responsible for running, accompanying and directing the Chapel Choir for the twice-weekly services held in the college chapel. He also acted as assistant organist at Exeter College, during his second year. Upon graduating in 2010, James worked for Fowey Parish Church as their Ministry Trainee where he spent much of his time working with the Children and Youth Programme as well as volunteering at Fowey Community College as a part-time Teaching Assistant for Music. At Canford James conducts the symphonic wind orchestra, concert band, and teaches Piano and the Shell, GCSE and A-Level curriculum. As Assistant Director of Music, he has responsibility for the instrumental music in the school, particularly the wind and brass music.

FIONA MCKINLEY - HEAD OF STRINGS

BA, LMusA (University of Western Australia)

Fiona McKinley gained her B.Mus and BA (in Psychology) from the Queensland and Western Australian universities. Formerly a 1st violinist in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, she joined Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2003, at which point she joined the staff at Canford School as Head of Strings. She now uses her performing skills as a recitalist, soloist with Stromenti, and freelance orchestral player. She is also a tutor with the National Children's Orchestra. At Canford, Fiona is responsible for bowed string playing within the School, and runs most of the string ensembles and string-based chamber music. She teaches violin and viola, and beginner cello and bass. Out of the music department, Fiona coaches cross country, athletics, and is a member of Groundforce, the Canford environmental team. She is also a Tutor in Lancaster House.