This year’s Spring Concert saw over 100 excited pupils, from First Year to Upper Sixth, travel to the prestigious Royal Northern College of Music to delight the audience with an evening of exceptional music.
String Orchestra got the show underway with a splendid performance of three movements from the St Paul’s Suite by Holst; their richness of sound in the wonderful acoustic delighted the audience and the pupils were clearly enjoying themselves as they galloped through the lively folk songs.
Chamber Choir, led by Mr Dow then came on to perform a superb set demonstrating huge versatility in their range of songs; magical madrigals combined with traditional spirituals alongside some joyful jazz and the beautiful Lay A Garland by Pearsall. The highlight was the hauntingly atmospheric O Magnum Mysterium by Lauridsen, which left the audience spellbound.
The first half closed with Upper Sixth pupil Alex Pollard performing the 2nd and 3rd movements of Shostakovich’s piano concerto no. 2 accompanied by First Orchestra. The 3rd movement in particular is fiendishly difficult with many complex rhythms and virtuosic runs, but Alex played superbly and rightly received a fantastic ovation from both the orchestra and the audience. Alex, whp has an offer to read music at Oxford University, showed incredible determination – he had sprained a finger playing basketball the day before, but the listeners could not tell and this truly was a heroic performance.
Wind Orchestra began the second half with aplomb. Niamh Johnson performed a lovely solo on the Flugelhorn of The Girl With the Flaxen Hair by Debussy, specially arranged for the ensemble by Mr Kennedy. They then played two energetic and exciting movements from Vaughan Williams’ Folk Song Suite.
Popular girls’ vocal group The MayHemiolas then stepped out to perform an eight part a cappella piece, Ave Maria by Holst. To sing in 8 parts in a choir is hard, but to sing 8 parts with only single individuals on a line is very challenging and the girls did a marvellous job, not only blending their voices superbly but adding so much character and musicianship to their performance. They also performed a barbershop arrangement of Tonight from West Side Story. The girls would like to thank Mrs Short for rehearsing them.
It had been a long day for some of our Junior Chamber Choir but there was a buzz of excitement about them before they went on stage to perform their set. Led by Mrs Matthews, the young group performed three songs quite wonderfully and there was much pride from teachers, parents and older pupils in the confidence shown by these young stars. Well done to Patrick Owen who played a trumpet solo for them in Albrecht’s Lift up your voice, Alleluia.
The evening was brought to a rousing close with a barnstorming performance of Bob Chilcott’s A Little Jazz Mass. Unusually for a piece with sacred lyrics the choir is accompanied by jazz piano, double bass and drums. For this performance we had Mr Hamilton playing jazz piano, Mrs Matthews on double bass and Fourth Year pupil Daniel Vincent on drums. It was a splendid end to a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
Huge thanks must go to Mrs Johnson for ensuring the trip ran smoothly. Music department thanks also go to the staff who helped out back stage, to Mr Croft and his team for helping move loads of kit to and from the RNCM, and to the external relations team for publicising the event so successfully.
To view all of the photography from the Spring Concert, please visit our Flickr page.
To see the exciting concerts coming up in the next few months, visit our events page to find out more.