Four of Oakham’s music ensembles – Polyphonix, Wind Band, Symphony Orchestra and Big Band – took to the stage in Chapel on Friday night to perform what was a highly entertaining evening of music.
Under the direction of Tessa Drummond, Polyphonix (the middle school girls’ choir) began the concert with an uplifting rendition of Touch the Sky, a song from popular Disney film, Brave and City of Stars from the recent musical La La Land concluded their performance. The girls sang with confidence and enthusiasm, suitably setting the tone for the evening.
Wind band were next to perform with three popular arrangements, directed by head of brass and percussion, Steve Foster. The theme from The Great Escape, Moves Like Jagger and Build Me Up Buttercup were all performed with an energy and spirit which demonstrated what an accomplished young group they are.
A contrast to the popular tunes from Wind Band, Director of Music Peter Davis and Symphony Orchestra concluded the first half with their programme of the three Bs: Britten, Bernstein and Bizet. Symphony Orchestra began with the first three of Britten’s Soirées Musicales; the March was a bold opening and captured the attention of the audience before the more tranquil mood of the second movement, Canzonetta. Finally, the bright, light-hearted dance aspects of the Tirolese were realised skilfully. Continuing the dance theme, Bernstein’s Three Dance Episodes from On The Town were attacked by the orchestra with panache and vigour- the fast tempos and complex rhythms in the first and last movements were an impressive display of ensemble musicianship. Finally, the audience were treated to a selection of the finest moments from Bizet’s opera Carmen, and the spirit of the Les Toréadors brought the first half to a suitably climatic end.
Directed by Steve Foster, Big Band were on excellent form in the second half and performed eight numbers from a range of genres including swing, TV, jazz, Latin and pop styles. Saxophonist David Sun had some exciting solos and demonstrated some impressive improvisation. Big Band also welcomed three new solo vocalists: Emmi Beeston’s performance of popular ballad Someone to Watch Over Me was sung with mature expression. Next, Imogen Brown tackled one of Whitney Houston’s most famous power ballads, I Have Nothing. Imogen hit the high notes with precision and left the audience blown away by the apparent ease with which she moved through the song. The final soloist of the night was Esther Gbadayen, whose voice captured the soul qualities in Mercy perfectly. Big Band concluded the evening on a high with one of Stevie Wonder’s biggest hits, Living for the City.
Congratulations to all on an excellent evening of music!