The first major Friday night concert of the Spring Term was a truly fabulous celebration of ensemble music-making featuring four of the School’s top musical ensembles. The Concert Band opened the evening with enormous style and rich tone in their performances of three musical medleys: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Mamma Mia! and Jump Swing Fever. Under the direction of Mr Foster and Miss Wardell, the band navigated multiple tempo changes with ease, and provided a hugely entertaining start to the concert.
The leading string players of the Chamber Orchestra then took over the platform, performing Vivaldi’s spirited Concerto for Two Violins and ‘Cello in D minor. Featuring excellent soloists Evie, Maya and Ethan, the ensemble performed confidently without a conductor, vividly capturing the contrasting characters of Vivaldi’s Baroque score.
The full Symphony Orchestra took to the stage to conclude the first half of the concert. As part of their preparations for the Gala Concert in March, they performed the first movement of Shostakovich’s effervescent Piano Concerto No.2, supporting talented music scholar Obi as the piano soloist. The orchestra was more than equal to the vivid sonorities and rhythmic dexterity demanded of them, whilst Obi’s hugely impressive solo playing thrilled a packed audience in Chapel. With the piano moved aside, the orchestra were the sole focus in the opening movement of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8. The orchestra is to be congratulated on the way they captured a wide range of orchestral colours and moods in this wonderful musical tribute to the composer’s Czech homeland.
After a full stage re-set, the popular Big Band were the focus of the second half of the concert, performing a sequence of seven entertaining instrumental pieces under the direction of Steve Foster. As well as featuring a number of improvised solos, the strength of all the sections of the band was clearly evident to the audience, who hugely appreciated their entertaining sequence of contrasting jazz styles.
Congratulations to all our performers on achieving such a high standard of performance in front of a packed crowd in Chapel.