Around 300 Oakham musicians successfully battled through the snow to give a quite remarkable Gala Concert performance on Sunday 18 March in the Cambridge Corn Exchange. For the first time ever, this choral extravaganza brought together the voices of the Chapel Choir, Lower School Choir and massed Form 3 Singers, alongside pupil vocal soloists Morgan & Beth, guest soprano Jenny Stafford, and Form 7 trombonist Andrew.
The programme was entitled “There was a child”, as the concert culminated in Jonathan Dove’s modern oratorio recounting the life of a child, which was commissioned in memory of a teenager who sadly died at the age of 19. Oakham is the first school to ever perform the work, which made a tremendous impact on the whole audience, navigating moments of humour and tragedy, and culminating in a life-affirming setting of a Walt Whitman poem. The Chapel Choir rose to the work’s significant musical challenges with enormous commitment, with the Lower School choir bringing much youthful vitality, and enormous pathos added by Morgan in his solo tenor role as “the son”.
There were also celebrations of the composer Leonard Bernstein’s centenary, with choral performances of two songs from West Side Story as well as a complete performance of his Chichester Psalms, featuring beautiful solo singing from Beth. Form 7 music scholar Andrew completed the programme with an exuberant performance of David’s Trombone Concertino.
All the pupils involved are to be congratulated on their brilliant performances, and the many messages on congratulations received are testament to their talent and hard work.
'The music was stunning, the boys and girls of the various choirs were faultlessly charming.'
'I found the Dove oratorio and the Bernstein to be deeply moving (especially the beautiful treble solo!) You have so much talent at Oakham - what a blessing'
'The standard and quality of the performance from all the children was astounding.'
'It was a very special concert and one that will be remembered by everyone who was there for many years to come.'
Click here to see the photographs from this wonderful evening.