Middle School musical mix
Annual Middle School concert
The annual celebration of Middle School music took place in the Music Hall on the evening of Thursday 17 May. Featuring an amazing diversity of style and talent, the audience was enthusiastic in its appreciation of everything on the programme.
With two solo slots, many smaller ensembles right up to Middle School Choir and Concert Orchestra, which each number over 50 pupils, in total more than 130 pupils were performing.
Ciara Morris and Adam Cole treated the audience to the relatively rare experience of hearing bass instrumental solos – Ciara on the bassoon and Adam on the double bass, both playing with great technical skill and assurance. Adam later featured in the small jazz ensemble Birdland, here on the electric double bass, when he and his fellow jazz musicians demonstrated their great feel for jazz and confidence in improvising. Other jazz items included the sister group to Birdland, Blue Note, whose interpretation of the more modern classic Footprints again encouraged the players to experiment with improvisation, and also Jazz Band 2, with a a stompy Big Spender and quirky Cantina Band.
Two of the most serene sets featured the Harp Ensemble and the Guitar Ensemble. The harps chose three short pieces based on the Westminster Chimes, in which the ringing of the bells was delicately translated to the harp strings, whilst Rondino and Sentimental Waltz from the guitars were both sensitively played with a really good sense of ensemble.
Two further string groups who performed were the Quartet of Tilly Hale, Mark, Ella Byrne and Amber Moeller, under the direction of Mr Gillett, and the ‘Cello Quartet featuring Amber once again, this time joined by Peter Moffat, Sebastian Johns and Lauren Hughes. Having rehearsed together throughout the academic year, both groups have developed and a rich tone and careful tuning, which was especially fitting given the ‘Cellos’ choice of Allegretto from Mellow ‘Cellos by Thompson.
Rock School happens every Wednesday after lessons finish, and one of the most enthusiastic bands to emerge has been Lost Authority, whose members are Archie Redfern, Alex Turner, James Turner and Ethan Hwang. Their guitars, bass and drums certainly rocked the Music Hall and met with cheers from the audience. They were followed by a trio of Third Form girls Amelia Johnson, Aurora Keay and Sarah Knapp, premiering one of Amelia’s compositions. A keen writer and performer, we are sure to hear more of Amelia’s work in future years, whilst all the girls are to be congratulated on their hard work in preparing and performing to such a high standard.
Maxi Brass were indebted to Upper Sixth Formers Matthew Francis and William Pearce for returning from study leave to guest conduct Jupiter and Tico Tico. These two inspiring musicians got the best from the younger brass players in a set of contrasting styles.
Flute Ensemble, which included a guest clarinettist, Katie Ledger, chose the Basse Dance from Warlock’s Capriol Suite. The warm woodwind sound of this technically accomplished group was much appreciated by the audience.
Mr Brimelow was leading two of the groups performing – Concert Orchestra and Boys’ Barbershop. Concert Orchestra opened the evening with stately elegance with Mazurka from Swan Lake, whilst the Boys provided an altogether more light-hearted set featuring Hello Mary Lou and Lollipop.
Middle School Choir, under the direction of Mrs Guthrie, brought the concert to a rousing close with two pieces from the film The Greatest Showman, A Million Dreams and This is Me, accompanied by Mr Daldorph on the piano and Revd Tom on the drums.
There will be one more chance to hear the school’s jazz groups this year within the annual Jazz Concert on 30 June. Tickets are already on sale via the box office, and advance booking is essential, as the ticket price includes light refreshments.