Jonathan Hilliam is hoping to emulate the success of a former Derby Grammar School pupil after gaining a highly coveted place studying jazz drumming at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
The talented 18-year-old musician, who also plays piano, violin and viola, counts former pupil Ed Richardson among his role models.
Ed went on to play drums for the likes of Noel Gallagher, Taylor Swift, Curtis Stigers and, currently, as house drummer at the famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London.
Jonathan has also tasted some band success with his brother George’s jazz band GCHQ until the arrival of Covid forced them to cancel a long list of lined-up gigs. George, a trumpet player, also attends Derby Grammar School and is expecting his GCSE results on Thursday.
The Hilliam family’s musical talent does not stop there. Dad Paul Hilliam studied music and religious studies at university, and the boys’ grandmother studied music at the prestigious Royal College of Music in London.
This week is also an extra-proud moment for Paul, who has taught at Derby Grammar School since its foundation in 1995.
Jonathan, who far exceeded the two E Grades he needed to win his place at Birmingham Conservatoire, gaining A*, A* and B in Music, Music Technology and English Language respectively, said: “I’m really looking forward to Birmingham, where I’ll have more people around me who are interested in the same thing as me. To be able to meet up and play music as often as we like will be fantastic.
“After going through Derby Grammar School from Year 5, I feel I’m now ready for the next step in my life. I had to work really hard for these A-Levels but it’s all been worth it.”
Dad Paul, who mainly teaches Religious Studies and Geography at the school, said: “Having been one of the first teachers appointed at Derby Grammar School over 25 years ago, it was certainly not on my mind back then that I’d have two sons attending the school as pupils.
“But I couldn’t be prouder of them both, and we’re very grateful to the teachers that have taught Jonathan so well over the years.”