Spectacular Concert

The May Concert is always a highly-anticipated event in the school calendar, arriving just before Study Leave begins and so marking the beginning of the end for many older musicians. The Wind Band opened the concert with Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite - one of the most famous works for military band - which was played with great style, expression and finesse; it proved to be a splendid way to start the evening and full marks must go to the soloists, too. The Mathias Band and String Orchestra allowed many of our younger players to shine, which they did quite superbly in front of a full house. Both of these ensembles performed confidently, capturing the dramatic spirit of Pirates of the Caribbean Medley and clearly enjoying the The Best of Leroy Anderson. The Big Band’s confident, accomplished performance of The Blues Brothers Medley caused much toe-tapping and (perhaps unintentional) swaying from some members of the audience; the solo improvisations were also most impressive. Over the years the Chamber Orchestra has gained a reputation for its exceptional playing and this was very much in evidence as the orchestra and the three superb soloists - Amelia (violin), Maddy (flute) and Samodani (flute) - played to an astonishingly high standard, with a stylized virtuosic performance of the 1st movement of J.S Bach’s Brandenberg Concerto No 4 in G Major. The Symphony Orchestra concluded the concert, firstly performing Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto with Upper Sixth soloists Tania and Sophie: this was a spectacular success. The soloists made light work of the rhythmic complexities of the outer movements - brilliantly accompanied by the superb orchestra - with contrast provided in the gentle second movement, lyrical and Romantic in style with playing that was simply exquisite. The soloists were in total command throughout to the absolute delight of the audience. The concert ended as the orchestra was let off the leash to perform Montagues and Capulets (an orchestral interlude from ‘Romeo and Juliet’) by Prokofiev. Known by millions as the theme tune to the BBC TV programme ‘The Apprentice’, the power and intensity of this music was evident from the outset. 

This was an extraordinary evening of music-making, involving over 200 pupils from all seven year groups. Many thanks to all players and, of course, to colleagues who continue to coach, conduct and inspire the ensembles. 

Mr Grayson Jones