This lengthy programme was a celebration of the work of numerous ensembles that meet weekly to rehearse. All age groups in the school were represented in the instrumental categories of brass, woodwind, strings and percussion and there were also some fine solos from senior musicians. Please click here to view more images of the concert.
The first half of the concert saw performances devoted to earlier musical styles, particularly the works of Baroque composers such as Purcell and Telemann. The distinguished Baroque violinist Rachel Podger kindly stepped in to lead the Senior Chamber Ensemble in their performance of the Overture from Suite in A minor by Georg Philipp Telemann and this was followed by the Senior Chamber Wind Ensemble’s performance of the Overture from King Arthur by Henry Purcell. Oliver Price, a Music Scholar in the Lower Sixth, continued the Purcell theme with a graceful rendition of Music For A While, and later in the programme the Junior String Ensemble, again led by Rachel Podger, performed Rondeau from The Fairy Queen and the Aire from Abdelazar.
Elsewhere in the programme there were fine performances from two of the school’s six percussion groups; the Intermediate Chamber Ensemble performing a piece composed specially for the occasion by their director, Gareth Hamlin, and the Senior Chamber Ensemble performing an intricate medley of syncopated rhythms in a piece for body percussion! The Flute Choir, now numbering some eleven pupils and directed by Clare Walker, entertained us with Bill Holcombe’s arrangement of Washington Post and two of Clare’s other groups, the Junior Chamber Wind and the Wind Sinfonia, gave fine renditions of Fernando by ABBA and the rousing theme tunes from the film Pirates of the Caribbean, which were almost symphonic in nature.
Brass playing is maturing in the school and it was impressive to hear Rob Johnson’s group performing as a tight ensemble in another tribute to the Swedish masters, ABBA. One of the most impressively musical performances of the evening was given by Alan Davies’s Cello Ensemble, performing a complex Ragtime piece. There were also excellent, home-grown arrangements of music given by The Sax Ensemble and the Lower Sixth Guitar Group, the latter group performing the only amplified performance of the evening, complete with three-part vocals. Enemy Of Mine composed by Lower Sixth A level student Luke Skibniewski-Woods was quite at home in a programme of music written by professional composers.
As well as fine instrumental solos given by Joseph Walker (bassoon), Isaac Cho (alto sax) and Andrew Barry (acoustic guitar), two vocal solos given by two younger members of the school community were very impressive indeed. Ben Masters (Form 2) was quite at home performing Consider Yourself from Oliver! with his hallmark confidence and attention to detail, and Cai Williams, a new Form 3 Music Scholar, was most impressive in his delivery of Handel’s But Who May Abide from The Messiah, complete with a courageous and mature delivery of the ‘Prestissimo’ middle section.
To round off a most enjoyable and successful evening, the Chamber Choir, directed by Jonathan Cooper, performed two madrigals, Now Is The Month Of Maying by Thomas Morley and The Silver Swan by Orlando Gibbons, followed by a mesmerising rendition of Here, There And Everywhereby John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
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