As part of our HSOG ReConnect campaign, we caught up with former pupil, Sophie Price, from the class of 2014.
I have been back to visit the High School several times since that last weepy Prizegiving in 2014 and I am always greeted with the same rush of affection for the school every time I see the familiar corridors and playing fields.
I left the High School with my eye on a career as a classical singer and spent the following 3 years studying Music at the University of Manchester. There, I threw myself into all of the performance opportunities that were available, teaching myself phonetics and taking modules in Italian and Russian which was definitely one of the most satisfying modules of my undergrad. (I had just discovered Rachmaninov’s song repertoire and was desperate to be able to sing it). With the Royal Northern College of Music casting a long shadow down the road from the university department, I worried that I would lag behind my colleagues who had chosen to go down the more practical college education route so swatted up as much as I could. Thankfully any early wobbles were promptly sorted by a wonderfully empathetic and supportive Music Department.
I graduated from those 3 jam-packed years with a 1st Class Honours degree, still with my sights firmly set on singing as a career.
I was repeatedly told by my teachers to wait for a few years after my undergraduate before enrolling onto a performance postgrad to let my voice mature; patience has been a hard lesson learned – as all young singers will no doubt have experienced themselves. To placate my impatience in the meantime, I enrolled in the RNCM’s Associate Student Scheme, allowing me to join the postgraduate singers for a couple of terms before making the big move down to London.
It was during an Internship with Opera Holland Park that I met my current teacher, soprano Sarah Tynan. She had been a soloist at my last concert with RSNO before moving to Manchester and I had idolised her singing ever since. She was singing Despina (Cosi fan Tutte) during my time with OHP so I mustered up the courage to introduce myself to her (to this day the least cool and collected I have ever been).
Whilst continuing to develop my singing in London, I have been working for the live music agency, ‘Music Students for Hire’, first as Bookings Executive and later as Operations Manager, providing musicians for weddings, corporate and private events such as: London Fashion Week, The House of Lords and The Royal Variety Performance After-Show Party.
2020 seemed like the perfect time to finally start getting stuck back into life as a singer, so I made myself an enormous to-do list, taking some singing work and sending feelers out to professionals across London.
Lockdown has consisted of singing away (RIP my neighbours) and jamming with my partner who is also a musician (composer and guitarist), alongside weekly failed attempts at Jonathan Gibson’s fiendish Zoom pub quiz nights with my old HSOG friends!
Since lockdown has started to lift, life has begun to move again! I am hoping to move to Walthamstow (NE London) in the next few weeks (and have been steadily bullying my partner into the idea of getting a couple of kittens in the not-so-distant future!) I will soon be starting a new position as a singing teacher at Sydney Russell School in Dagenham, starting up my own private teaching base and looking towards a postgrad performance course in the next few years.
I have very fond memories of the High School and will always remain grateful for all of the wonderful musical opportunities it offers students, in addition to making wonderful life-long friendships.