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Music Festival impresses a packed out Hallam Hall

Senior School musicians were able to demonstrate their quality and enjoyment of their art at this year’s Music Festival.

The whole day event, which took place in the Hallam Hall on Friday 22nd June, was adjudicated by accomplished violinist and conductor Alex Laing, who is the Artistic Director at King’s High School Warwick.

The day began bright and early with the First Year instrumental class and it was fantastic to see such a high standard of performance and enjoyment from this year group. Sam Burrows on the euphonium won the class with a rousing performance of ‘Beaufort Allegro’.

Next up were the Second Years, an extremely competitive class with a very high standard. Ben Wood on the clarinet was the eventual winner with a superb performance of the ‘Prelude, A Victorian Kitchen Suite’.

There was musical drama in the Third Year instrumental class with some amazingly accomplished performances. Oscar Williams was commended for his extremely sensitive performance of ‘Méditation’ by Massenet but he was just pipped to the post by a very impressive and flashy performance of ‘The Song Of The Brother’ by Daniel Vincent on the euphonium.

The competition then moved on to the junior ensemble and vocal classes. The junior ensemble class was won by the Junior Jazz Band (Emily Edwards, trumpet; Gabriel Keeble, vocals; Will Insley, guitar; Oscar Williams, piano and drums; Daniel Vincent piano and drums) who not only performed a medley of ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’ and ‘Oye Como Va’, but also featured members of the group swapping instruments during the performance without skipping a beat.

The junior vocal class featured several styles of performance from Baroque choral music to musical theatre and pop songs. Lucy Grundy won this class with an emotionally charged performance of ‘She Used To Be Mine’ by Bareilles.

After lunch the Fourth and Fifth Year instrumental solos and vocals took place. This was an afternoon of extremely high quality right from the outset. With a large class of 10 performers showing their skills in the instrumental class, the audience were blown away by performance after performance that were all virtually flawless.

Sarah Callow on the clarinet delivered an outstanding performance of the first movement of Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Clarinet Sonata’ to win the class and she also won the Adjudicator’s Cup for performance of the day for a truly memorable show.

The vocal class was similarly of a high standard and Joshua Furtado-Mendes gave an extremely dramatic interpretation of Schubert’s ‘Erlkönig’. Even though the text was in German the audience could tell exactly what the story was about due to the fantastic characterisation.

In the evening, Elsa Shah won the Sixth Form instrumental solo class with an extremely technically demanding performance of ‘Saraste’ by Malaguena. This was truly excellent and she also picked up the String Cup for this performance.

Niamh Johnson won the Sixth Form vocal class with a very expressive performance of ‘What Baking Can Do’ from the musical ‘Waitress’, with Olivia White being highly commended.

The evening concluded with the senior ensemble class which saw several groups of siblings competing. This class always has a feel-good factor about it, particularly with two rival vocal and ukulele groups this year, but the ultimate winners were Elsa and Zoe Shah with Olivia Dow who performed the last movement of the Bach ‘Double Violin Concerto’.

We would like to thank Alex for coming in and it was great to have such an experienced adjudicator for the festival and the feedback he gave to pupils was personalised and contained lots of useful suggestions as to how to improve their playing.

Many thanks to the parents who came to support and to all of the Music department staff for their tireless work organising such a rewarding day.


Award Winner
First Year Solo Instrumentalist Sam Burrows
First Year Commended Euan McIlwraith
Second Year Solo Instrumentalist Ben Wood
Third Year Solo Instrumentalist Daniel Vincent
Third Year Commended Oscar Williams
Most Promising Lower School Musician Olivia Dow
Junior Vocal Solo Lucy Grundy
Junior Vocals Solo Commended Olivia Dow
Junior Ensemble Emily Edwards, Gabe Keeble, Will Insley,
Dan Vincent, Oscar Williams
Junior Ensemble Commended Emily Edwards, Jonathan Hyde, Talia Zelhof,
Olivia Dow, Ben Wood
Fourth and Fifth Year Instrumentalists Sarah Callow
Fourth and Fifth Year Commended Sonu Thomas, George Zelhof
Fourth and Fifth Year Vocal Solo Joshua Furtado-Mendes
Adjudicator’s Cup Sarah Callow
Sixth Form Instrumentalist Elsa Shah
Sixth Form Vocal Solo Niamh Johnson
Senior Ensemble Elsa Shah, Zoe Shah & Olivia Dow
Senior Ensemble Commended Caitlin Cutts & Grace Shropshire
Senior Ensemble Commended Elsa Shah, Zoe Shah, Talia Zelhof & George Zelhof
Wind & Brass Cup Sarah Callow
String Cup Elsa Shah
Pianoforte Cup George Zelhof
Flute Cup Lauryn Howard