Spring Concert – an evening of musical magic
St George’s Church was full of anticipation as 127 performers from First Year through to Upper Sixth completed their final preparations and the audience took their seats ready to hear the results of weeks of rehearsal.
String Orchestra opened the concert with ‘Libertango’ (Piazzolla arr. Griffith) and ‘Chaconne in G Minor’ (Purcell), conducted by Mrs Matthews. The exceptional quality of their performance and the audience’s enjoyment of the pieces was the perfect start, setting the standard for the rest of the evening.
Next, it was the turn of Chamber Choir to delight the audience with six pieces conducted by Mr Dow and tutored by Mr Newlove – ‘Fair Phyllis I Saw Sitting All Alone’ (Handel); ‘Hark, All Ye Lovely Saints’ (Weelkes); ‘My Good Lord’s Done Been Here’ (arr.Cloud); ‘Little Innocent Lamb’ (arr. Bartholomew); ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’ (arr. Gilliatt) and ‘In The Mood’ (arr. Gilliatt). The last two pieces had been specially arranged by Old Stopfordian Sam Gilliatt.
It is the tradition for the Spring Concert to feature a solo performance by a member of the Upper Sixth who has demonstrated outstanding musicianship. This year’s soloist, Daniel Vincent, chose to play ‘Euphonium Concerto’ (Horovitz) with Wind Orchestra conducted by Mr Newlove. Daniel’s playing was of an astonishingly high quality, all the more remarkable for the fact that he has been offered a place at the Royal Northern College of Music to study another instrument, percussion. Wind Orchestra also played ‘Crown Imperial’ (Walton arr. Bocook).
The performers and audience took a short break with refreshments and a chance to enjoy the atmospheric and beautifully lit setting, before First Orchestra took their place on the stage to open the second half. Mr Dow conducted the orchestra in ‘Highlights From Jurassic Park’ (Williams arr. Custer) as some of the most accomplished musicians in the school demonstrated their talents.
Then, it was the turn of the youngest Senior School pupils to uplift the audience as Junior Chamber Choir bounded onto the stage to perform ‘Lift Up Your Voice, Alleluia’ (Albrecht) and ‘Wayfarin’ Stranger’ (arr. Unterseher), conducted by Mrs Matthews and accompanied by Patrick Owen on trumpet and Mr Dow on piano.
The largest choir in the school, the 73-strong Chorus, brought the concert to a close with sustained applause for their powerful performance of ‘Jazz Missa Brevis’ (Will Todd), conducted by Mr Dow, tutored by Mr Newlove and with Oscar Williams on drums, Mr Hamilton on piano, Mrs Matthews on double bass, Patrick Owen on trumpet, Mrs Johnson on trumpet and Mrs Walton on alto sax.