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News from Music

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Spring Concert (2)

On Thursday the 23rd the music department was proud to present the spectacular second Spring concert entitled ‘Around The World’. The concert featured around 150 pupils from Year 7 up to Year 13 and thrilled the packed audience of parents, friends, teachers and governors of Presdales school.

The concert started with the ever popular Little Big Band performing three Jazz standards from around the globe, including Fly Me To The Moon - which was indeed out of this world! The Senior Choir then performed Freedom ’90 in tribute to George Michael, followed by a touching rendition of The Abolition of Slavery by Bob Chilcott, a poignant setting of words by Charles Bennett that reflects on one of the most significant events of our time. The school’s concert band concluded the first half with a roaring piece called At A Dixieland Jazz Funeral which features our very own Dixieland combo of Carrie Craig (year 11) on Clarinet, Beth Marshall (year 13) on Trumpet, Claire Barker (year 13) on Trombone, Maddie Bryan (year 13) on Tuba and Lydia Silcock (year 12) on Drums. Celtic Ritual, a mesmerising piece for concert band, finished the first half in a thrilling display of the concert bands’ skill and finesse.

The Junior Choir began the second half with Maddie Bryan (year 13) conducting a fun version of the traditional Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho that, from the look on their faces, the Junior Choir thoroughly enjoyed singing! The orchestra then brought us Leroy Anderson’s Blue Tango, and a roaring rendition of the Bavarian Ein Schnapps. The string group, which is made up of beginners to grade 8 and beyond string players, brought us a refined performance of Warlock’s Capriol Suite, adding a touch of class to the evening’s proceedings. Bella Voce, our auditioned choir, performed the thrilling Las Amarillas by Stephen Hatfield. This tricky acapella piece hails from Mexico and challenged our singers to clap, snap and stamp whilst singing the feverishly complex melodies and harmonies. It was a real treat for the eyes and ears.

This year’s finale saw all performers from the evening join together on stage for The Circle of Life. Azaria Gayle (Year 8) began with the famous Zulu solo whilst the combined orchestra, string group and concert band accompanied. The Senior Choir were already gathered on stage and, during the introduction, the Junior Choir arrived singing from the back of the hall. The performance was spectacular and received a standing ovation from the audience – it was the perfect way to end one of the best concerts Presdales School has seen in many years.

Miss Mapplebeck

Circle of Life Workshop

On Monday 20th March, Gary Hind, the children’s musical director for the West End hit musical The Lion King, came to Presdales to lead a workshop for the orchestra, concert band and choirs. Miss Cheetham had planned and arranged a special finale, the Circle of Life from the Lion King, for our “Around the World” themed concert on Thursday 23rd March, so the opportunity to meet and work with Gary to ensure the concert finale would knock the audience’s socks off was not to be missed.

First, Gary worked with the Junior and Senior Choirs. Since he knows Circle of Life so well, Gary could tell us what all of the Zulu words meant and how to pronounce them properly (even if the meanings weren’t exactly as exciting as we thought they would be – “It’s a lion, yes it is a lion”.) He gave us some pointers to improve our performance of the song: to use good diction, to smile and to use our facial expressions to make it look more interesting. Gary also helped the Senior Choir with some harmonies in the chorus.

Next, Gary spent half an hour working with the orchestra and concert band. Even though they had many long notes to play, they had to make them as exciting as possible to create the amazing Lion King atmosphere.

For the final part of the workshop, the massed choirs, concert band and orchestra came together to play or sing with each other for the first time. After the first play-through, Gary explained to us how dynamics are very important in the Circle of Life and we had to emphasise them as much as we could. The final practice, conducted by Miss Cheetham, sent shivers down our spines and we knew we were ready for the concert. On the night, with the microphones and lighting, the concert finished to rapturous applause, a standing ovation and smiles on everyone’s faces. 

Charlotte Waring, Year 7