Younger musicians take to the stage
Middle School concert
A beautiful early summer evening was complemented by a varied and highly enjoyable programme of music at the Middle School Concert on Thursday 16 May.
Featuring 17 different ensembles, duets and solo items, the concert is an opportunity for pupils mostly from Third to Lower Fifth to take to the stage, joined by a few older and younger musicians.
Lower Fifth pupils Barnaby O’Brien on oboe, Louis Solon on piano, singer Alex Bartle and Bea Oliver-Stevens on clarinet, all provided accomplished and polished solo items, interspersing the larger groups, whilst Fourth Former singer/pianist Amelia Johnson, a prolific composer, delivered one of her own pieces.
Friends Faye Chapman and Evie Murray from the Lower Fifth presented a vocal duet, with Evie accompanying You Are The Reason on the piano. Sensitively delivered and with super blend and tuning, the audience will be keen to hear this duo again at future events.
The range of smaller instrumental ensembles that exist at Exeter School were fully show-cased within the programme. Our two younger String Quartets chose Menuet by Lully and The Skaters by Waldteufel and demonstrated some excellent ensemble playing and good communication. Our younger ‘Cello Quartet performed an arrangement by local ‘cellist Jane Greenwood of Tinjaleo, with the tune passing between the players with all of them clearly enjoying taking their part.
Mrs Stanley’s Guitar Ensemble and Dr Grier’s Harp Ensemble both gave delicate and intricate performances, displaying much technical skill as well as producing enchanting sound. The Saxophone Ensemble chose the 1920s classic Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, and captured the cheeky mood with some careful dynamics, whilst Maxi Brass performed two arrangements by Kingston, with some lovely rhythmic playing under the direction of Mr Moore.
Rock School meets after school every Wednesday and one of the bands to form is Lost Authority. Their performance of the Lennon and McCartney song Come Together proved to be one of the highlights of the evening and was greeted with enthusiastic and deserved applause by the audience.
Moving to our larger ensembles, Jazz Band 2 included the classic Take Five by Desmond and featured some great improvised solos along with exciting Big Band sounds, whilst Concert Orchestra selected a smooth Pink Panther and created an exuberant Latin feel with Fiesta Tropicale.
The concert concluded with three pieces from Middle School Choir, with some guest African drumming and percussion in Toto’s Africa and Revd Tom on drum kit. The choir created a full and well-focused sound, and encouraged by Mrs Guthrie, everyone joined clapping along to Something Inside So Strong.
As we near the end of the school year, we have the Junior Music Celebration to look forward to on 10 June, along with the Jazz Concert on 28 June and the Summer Chamber Concert on 6 July, so still plenty of music-making to enjoy.
A recording is on the intranet.