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News from Music

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Autumn Concert (1): Tuesday 15th November

On Tuesday15th November we held the first of our two Autumn Concerts which once again was a huge triumph. The programme was varied and involved all years of the school with a number of pupils performing in more than one item. It also covered a vast range of musical styles and demonstrated an exceptional level of musicianship. The opening act was ‘Djole’, a traditional African drumming piece, performed by 8W and confidently led by Lucy Kennard. The energy and enthusiasm of the group was infectious as the audience were transported to far away places. Instrumental ensemble work was featured in the concert in the form of Brass Group, who now have more than 15 members. Their rendition of ‘Mission: Impossible’ demonstrated real skill in ensemble awareness, having to count 5 beats in every bar which any musician will tell you is fairly tricky! Following this was a student formed vocal group performing a beautiful arrangement of Mumford & Son’s ‘I Will Wait’ with lush three part vocal harmonies accompanied by piano & strings. The two Year 10 GCSE Music classes also performed pop songs in the form of ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘Treasure’, showing off their skills as highly versatile musicians. The Cello group also featured in the first half, performing ‘Andante Cantabile’ and ’Tango’ with sensitivity and poise.

After a short interval the 60 strong Junior Choir took to the stage with their Musical Directors, Maddie Bryan (Y13) and Miss Mapplebeck, to sing three contrasting songs. The first, ‘Down to the river to pray’ featured Tatjana Forrest singing a soulful solo. This was followed by a thoughtful performance of ‘Castle On A Cloud’ from Les Miserables and a heart-warming delivery of ‘When I Grow Up’ from Matilda with outstanding solos from Ruby Peters (Y8) and Daisy Robinson (Y7). The Senior Choir continued the theme of ‘musicals’ with a gutsy performance of ‘At The End of The Day’ from Les Miserables, followed by Stevie Nicks’ ‘Landslide’ with a stylish solo from Charlotte Powell (Y11). They ended their set in Christmassy fashion with ‘Carol of the Bells’.

To end the evening, Bella Voce, our newly formed auditioned choir, continued the Christmas theme and sang ‘This Little Babe’ from Benjamin Britten’s ‘A Ceremony of Carols’. They followed this with two movements from ‘Five Hebrew Love Songs’ by Eric Whitacre, sung in the original Hebrew language. The second of these, ‘Eyze Sheleg!’, employed the musical technique of aleatoricism (music by chance) with choir members singing pitches in free time and rhythm, creating a mesmerising sound. Madeline Bryan sang the soprano solo exquisitely with confidence and emotion. 

To round off a fantastic concert, the three choirs joined forces, accompanied by an enthusiastic band, to perform Disney’s ‘We’re All In This Together’, arranged by Senior Music students, Madeline Bryan and Bethany Vaughan. It really was a night to remember!

Autumn Concert (2): Tuesday 29th November

On Tuesday 29th November, we held our second Autumn Concert, which was a huge success. The evening kicked off with a lively Samba parade by students from 9W, confidently led by Evie Reynolds. This was followed by the warm sounds of the clarinet ensemble playing ‘Danzas Espanolas’ and ‘A Disney Medley’, co-directed by Year 11 students, Carrie Craig and Hannah Davies. The string ensemble - now almost too large to fit in our rehearsal room - was conducted by Mrs Slade and performed the lively ‘Humoresque’ by Tchaikovsky, followed by two quirky arrangements of festive pieces in the form of ‘Mary Had a Baby’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. The Little Big Band ended the first half in style, playing a range of pieces from 1940’s swing to funk, with improvised alto saxophone solos from Carrie Craig and Natasha Takats. Jess Pryke (Year 10) deserves a special mention for her fantastic performance in ‘Cute’, a drum kit feature piece. After a short interval, the Orchestra assembled on stage while the Percussion Ensemble were led by Mr Hosker in a performance of ‘Arhus Etude No.1’, demonstrating the many intricacies of playing percussion, including 4’s against 3’s and dynamic variety. The Orchestra then really brought Christmas alive with ‘Trepak’ from the Nutcracker Suite, and ‘A Christmas Festival’ by Leroy Anderson. Most instruments were heavily adorned with tinsel by this point! The saxophone ensemble have been encouraged by Mr Woodin this term to try different types of saxophone and the audience were treated to a real ‘Saxophone Choir’, complete with soprano, alto, tenor and baritone playing ‘Something Stupid’ and ‘The Jazz Police’. Following this, the Concert Band performed ‘Selections from Chicago’, with featured solos from Beth Marshall, Natasha Takats and Deniz Isingor. Bethany Vaughan then made her conducting debut with ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to bring the evening to an exciting end.

‘All of the performances were of a very high quality and were a pleasure to listen to.’ - Mr Warren.
‘Girls were absolutely fantastic - so nice to see them in a different light other than in the classroom.’ - Mrs Schillaci-Rowland.
‘Very slick and polished performances.’ - Mrs Davies.