Mr Jonathan Bungard writes:

I am delighted to be joining The Elms in September. Driving over the hill from Malvern on my first visit to the school took my breath away, and the school lived up to every expectation built up by the excellent website.

Music has been the constant driving force of my life. My earliest memories are of hearing my mother teaching the cello at home, and she gave into my constant demands to play the instrument aged four! I was fortunate to have excellent teachers and a supportive family, gaining a place in the National Children’s Orchestra and then a music scholarship. Whilst at Uppingham, singing became an increasingly important part of my musical diet, and I took choral scholarships to Truro Cathedral and then St John’s College, Cambridge. I moved from university into a full-time performing career, based first in the choir of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle and then Westminster Cathedral. Alongside these church commitments I sang professionally all around the world, taking part in recordings, concert, film sound tracks, operas and dinner entertainments. This was an extraordinary way to spend my 20s and early 30s, and I have memories that will last me a lifetime from these wonderful years. At the same time I have been involved in musical education for most of my adult life, first as an individual piano, singing and theory teacher, then running primary school musical outreach sessions around London for three years and finally, in 2012, moving into full time teaching. I have been the Director of Music at two wonderful Hertfordshire schools – York House and Aldwickbury, and can’t wait for Chapter 3 at The Elms.

Away from school, I have four wonderful children. The three eldest are all choristers at Ely Cathedral and live in that city with their mother. My youngest, Thomas, will hopefully be joining me at The Elms in the Nursery – he has already taken on board that Daddy’s new school has lots of pigs! My wife and I, despite both being professional musicians, met at our local running club. I have been known to run up to 80 miles in a single day! I hope to be involved on the games field at The Elms. We are also very keen gardeners – I am hugely passionate about the outdoors and the impact that a wider perspective can have on broadening minds. I am also in the middle of a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management at Buckingham University.

For the Elms pupils: In these strange times, I hope that you and your families are remaining safe and well. Enforced home time is, of course, the perfect opportunity for keeping to an excellent music practice routine – I look forward to hearing the results in September! And for those of you who do not play an instrument yet, make sure you listen to lots of music so you can tell me all about your favourite piece. If you can’t think of things to listen to, please ask your parents to follow me on Twitter (@jbungard) for a daily recommendation – there is a piece of music out there for everyone!