This busy half term was rounded off with a spectacular Valentine's Day Showcase from our Lower School musicians. Not only did we get to hear a great assortment of musical genres and music from different continents, but many of the pieces performed were based on the theme of love as a nod to St Valentine.
To get us underway, two Form 2 music classes, under the direction of Mrs Drummmond, gave an impressive display of spirited African polyrhythms, giving the students an opportunity to show off their drumming techniques. It was clear that every student played an important role in the music and loved every minute of the performance.
Sebastian was the afternoon's first soloist, performing Hot on the line by Pamela Wedgwood. This was a fantastic performance made all the more impressive by the glorious sound Sebastian made on the trumpet. This was followed by the Lower School Strings, directed by Mr Jenkinson. They gave an outstanding performance of arrangements of Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights and Nino Rota's A time for us. The first piece was full of drama and bursting with character and the second made the audience swoon with its sumptuous melody, played with great passion by the violins.
Our next soloist was Jack who gave a composed, beautiful and sensitive rendition of Danny Boy on the guitar - a moment of calm. This was followed by Cantamus, strong in numbers and voice, who gave an uplifting performance of When she loved me by Randy Newman.
The Lower School Guitar Ensemble was the next group to charm the audience with a delightful performance of Phil Collins' You'll be in my heart, directed by Mrs Ford.
Evie was the next soloist to dazzle with By the sea from Sondheim's macabre musical, Sweeney Todd. Her performance would certainly not have been out of place on the West End stage. Her ability to captivate the audience and communicate every word of the lyrics to the listener was remarkable. Her performance was rightly acknowledged with rapturous applause from an enthralled audience.
The Lower School Brass Ensemble under the direction of Mr Foster treated us to two contrasting pieces: the Allegro Vivace from the William Tell Overture by Rossini, and Mercy, mercy, mercy by Joe Zawinul. Both works were performed with great precision and style, with each player demonstrating excellent ensemble skills.
The newly established Cambiata Voices under the direction of Mr Jacques gave a wonderful performance of The beat of a different drum by Sarah Quartel. This was a superb debut and we all look forward to welcoming this group back to the stage for future performances.
Our next performance whisked us back to the late 17th century with a performance of Vivaldi's Concerto for two violins in a minor (1st movt). Our soloists were Daisy and Carson who performed with considerable poise and elegance.
In striking contrast, our next performers were the Lower School Percussion Ensemble directed by Ms Slominska. They treated us to the popular hit Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars. This enjoyable performance had the audience tapping their toes, with everyone trying hard to resist the temptation to sing along!
Our final soloist of the afternoon was Maya. She gave a stylish and suitably bluesy performance on the piano of Film noir by Mike Cornick.
Our penultimate performance brought the Brazilian Carnival to the school chapel. Two further Form 2 classes enjoyed every moment of this hugely entertaining spectacle; full of the vibrant rhythms of Brazil, whistles and all.
The Lower School Choir brought this eclectic showcase to a close. They performed two songs, Seasons of love by Jonathan Larsen and My heart is like a singing bird by Bob Chilcot. Both songs showed off the rich, warm tone of this ensemble and their ability to sing in glorious harmony under the supportive and enthusiastic direction of Mr Davis. A rousing end to a hugely entertaining afternoon.