A NEW building has officially been opened at Richard Huish College.

The Aspen Music Centre was opened on Friday, December 21, by deputy principal Martyn Owen who is departing the college.

The Aspen Music Centre includes two recording studios, two sound proof live rooms for recording, a brand new Mac suite, an editing and production suite, two specialist classrooms, five practice rooms for instrumental lessons, and a secure instrument store.

A spokesman for Richard Huish said: “This addition to the college means Huish is now able to offer one of the most modern and well-equipped music suites and performance facilities in the country.

“This building follows a longstanding series of investment in extending facilities at Huish. In October 2017 work was completed on the £2.3 million Maple Building, a specialist facility for the teaching of Visual Arts and Computing.

“In September 2017, Oak House Student Accommodation opened its’ doors on South Road and Sycamore Sports Centre and Willow Café were opened in 2016. The total capital investment secured from the Department of Education over the last five years exceeds the £12 million mark and has been used to ensure students have access to industry standard equipment and get the best experience to enhance their learning.”

Joining the official opening celebration were Huish staff, governors, and special guests that included children of St George’s Catholic School Choir, Bristol Brass Band and representatives from the Centre of Young Musicians Taunton.

After welcoming guests, Principal John Abbott thanked everybody for their support, including Halsalls construction who completed the building ahead of schedule, before inviting retiring deputy principal, Martyn Owen to cut the ribbon.

Mr Owen retires after 37 working in education, 24 of which have been at Huish as firstly director of music, faculty director, assistant principal and finally, deputy principal. He will continue with the role of director and vice chair of Arts Taunton, managing the planned Youth Festival. He has also been appointed as a director of Delloyd Music and artistic director of Orchestra De Cymru.

Principal, John Abbott, said: "Martyn has been an exceptional colleague over many years. He is a passionate educationalist and supporter of the Arts who without doubt has influenced many young people for the better throughout his career.

"Everyone at Huish wishes him a long and happy retirement."

Martyn Owen said: “I am so pleased to formally open Aspen with such fantastic accommodation and state of the art equipment.

"With this music facility, the college now has an opportunity to improve the life of so many people and engage the next generation of students with quality music making, experiences and courses."

Following the presentation guests were treated to a concert by ‘Bristol Brass Consort’ and a buffet of Christmas delights.

Children from St George’s Catholic School choir were some of the first to make use of the facility, heading into the recording studio to record a selection of festive songs.

Also benefiting from the new facility are the Centre for Young Musicians Taunton (CYMT) who run their classes at Huish at weekends. The partnership between Huish and CYMT, a division of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, began in early 2017.

CYMT offers children and young adults aged 5-18 with an interest in music the opportunity to showcase and enhance their musical talents.