After 40 years dedicated service to Andover’s college, Rob Bartholomew is for once stepping into the spot light for his colleagues to say a very warm farewell as he retires.

Although an accomplished musician who plays the sax, guitar and mandolin and away from the College performs in a number of bands and a choir, Rob has always been very happy to work behind the scenes describing himself as a ‘background boy’ who’s enjoyed enabling performances to happen.

Rob’s CV is an impressive read working for both Andover and Cricklade College and Cricklade Theatre before it became the Lights where he ran technical operations for five years.  He fondly describes the College in its Cricklade days as:  “A very vibrant place to be where the whole environment was extraordinary intellectually stimulating and a very close knit community”.  He has led the College’s Performing Arts tour of the USA , directed the College’s Big Band and has musically directed numerous performances from Lark Rise to Candleford to The Threepenny Opera and designed the lighting for far too many productions to mention.

A number of former Performing Arts and Music students have made it professionally during Rob’s tenure including Jamie Hince (formerly Mr Kate Moss) guitarist with the Kills and well known jazz musician Pete Wareham who has played with Acoustic Ladyland and  Polar Bear.  The West End’s Kelly O’Leary initially walked the boards at Andover and one of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year finalists Ben Hudson honed his bassoon playing at the College.

For the last 12 years Rob has been the stalwart of the College’s Music Academy, again working behind the scenes looking after instruments, music tech equipment and the College’s high spec sound and lighting technology. There’s no doubt he’s going to be sadly missed but it seems the College’s loss is most certainly Andover’s music scene gain!

Rob is quite determined to stay busy, this time making, arranging and recording his own music. He says he’s going to spend more time practicing his sax, guitar and mandolin while also playing in The Ingenius Gentlemen and the rehearsing group The Pitmoor Saxaphone Quartet and singing in the Andover Museum Loft Singers.

Gary Rake, Head of Curriculum for Performing Arts sums up Rob’s time at the College perfectly: “He has seen a lot of changes while here and had a number of roles due in no small part to his skill and knowledge. Be it fixing amps, running up and down rigs to set and focus theatre lights, building sets or ordering the vast technical equipment we need to run a successful department , Robs experience has been invaluable and I know we will struggle to fill his shoes”.