It was a real joy to hold our first major Chapel Concert in over 20 months on Friday 5 November, and to welcome back parents, staff and local people in the audience.
Three major ensembles rose to the occasion brilliantly, with the performances starting with the Concert Band, under the direction of Head of Brass & Percussion, Steve Foster. The band played with great commitment and vigour in their three pieces, opening with spirited performances of Erickson’s Toccata and Vaughan Williams’ March: Seventeen come Sunday. They then switched mood for the final work, a medley of Eric Clapton songs that embraced a combination of rock grooves and lyrical melodies.
The Chamber Choir then came to the platform to introduce the French theme of the remainder of the programme. They began with a unique arrangement of the Renaissance dance, Tourdion, with the choir expertly imitating different instrumental colours. Their grasp of both the French language and the tender lyricism of the music were very much in evidence in the following works, which included Saint-Saëns’ Deux Chœurs (in the composer’s anniversary year), and Fauré’s famous Cantique de Jean Racine.
The second half of the concert was given over to the Symphony Orchestra, who tackled major French orchestral works with both vigour and skill. The finale of Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony opened the second half, with strident organ chords introducing a kaleidoscope of colourful orchestral playing. Bizet’s incidental music for L’Arlésienne shone the spotlight on various sections of the orchestra – with distinguished solo flute playing by Eliza – culminating in an exuberant rendition of the Farandole to close the programme.
This was a remarkable performance by the pupils involved, particularly after such a long period away from live concert performances. Congratulations to all involved!
A recording of Autumn Concert can be viewed online here.