The sound of bells jingling heralded the start of the Christmas Concert as over 100 pupils took to the Dining Hall stage to deliver some scintillating festive music.
The concert, which comes just two weeks after the fantastic Autumn Concert, was opened by the ever-expanding Second Orchestra who demonstrated Spanish flair performing the ‘Araganaise’ from ‘Carmen’ before going on to perform the lively ‘Trepak’ from the perennial Christmas classic ‘The Nutcracker’.
Next up were the newly formed May Hemiolas (Zoe Shah, Natalie Bennett, Niamh Johnson and Caitlin Cutts) donning Christmas jumpers to enter into the spirit of the occasion. Sporting a cheeky nickname of the MayHems, this four-piece acapella girl group delighted the audience with barbershop-style renditions of ‘Can’t Help Lovin Dat Man’, ‘Mister Sandman’, ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’ and ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’.
First Orchestra then took to the stage to deliver a fine performance of the tricky opening movement of Beethoven’s ‘Second Symphony’ and they were followed by the Chamber Choir who gave rousing performances of Morley’s ‘My Bonny Lass She Smileth’ and ‘Now Is The Month Of Maying’ before closing the first part of the show with ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’.
After a short interval, which included the wintery treat of mince pies, the Concert Band got the second half off to a lively start with a rendition of Norred’s ‘Birdland’. They then performed the festive “The Names Claus…Santa Claus”, a piece which took the unusual step of fusing Christmas carols with the James Bond theme using the premise that Santa is actually a secret agent! The Concert Band closed their set with highlights from ‘Frozen’, including ‘For The First Time In Forever’ and the smash-hit ‘Let It Go’.
String Orchestra were next up and they took the adventurous step of performing without a conductor, allowing Mrs Matthews to play double bass. With Joshua Furtado-Mendes leading the orchestra and keeping them in time, the wonderful sound of strings filled the air as they played ‘La Cinquitaine’ and the lively ‘Jig From St Paul’s Suite’ by Holst.
Wind Orchestra were the last ensemble. Their fine trumpet section kicked their pieces off with the ‘Triumphal March From Aida’ before a beautiful arrangement of ‘Abide With Me’.
Niamh Johnson, who has performed with most ensembles in her time at the school, then stepped down from the trumpets to sing ‘Feelin’ Good’ before the concert concluded with the traditional performance of ‘Sleigh Ride’.
It was an excellent, diverse concert which really put the performers, staff and audience into the festive mood.