"Bolton School was such a large part of my life. I can safely say that I would not be doing what I do for a living if it wasn’t for the vibrant arts scene at the school and the encouragement that I was given."

Neil Eckersley, Former Pupil and Theatre Producer

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Bolton School Family in Fine Musical Form

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Bolton School family came together for a spectacular musical extravaganza at the Victoria Hall in Bolton.

Over 600 pupils from both the Girls' and Boys' Divisions, members and former members of the teaching staff, current and former governors, joined with parents and friends of the School, who, as a participative audience, played an integral role in the festival atmosphere of this large scale gala event.

Opening the evening, Mr Stephen Martin, Head of Music in the Boys' Division and Mrs Vivienne Carter, Acting Head of Music in the Girls' Division, congratulated the pupils and staff on working so hard in their preparation and rehearsals. Particular praise was given to Mr Ian Forgrieve and Miss Clare Deady for their tireless endeavours in the administration of the concert, without whose supreme efforts this event could not have taken place.

The School's Drum Corps opened the concert with the rousing Doldrums Knot. The Joint Concert Band then took centre stage and inspired everyone with Fantasia on the Dargason Suite and Cirque du Soleil. Mr Jeremy Bleasdale's Massed Guitar Groups offered a lively and, as ever, flawless, foot-tapping rendition of La Isla Bonita. The group usually perform instrumental arrangements but on the night, Hotel California was performed with vocals by Sixth Form girls Ruth Brown and Jess Ryan. Offering a true picture of the Bolton School family, the Massed Choirs - a combination of the Senior, Middle School and Chamber Choirs of both divisions, produced a breath-taking sound. Conducted by Mrs Vivienne Carter, they performed California Dreamin’ and Zadok the Priest; their combined voices ringing out across the magnificent hall.

To end the first half of the concert, the Massed Voices of Year 7, directed by Mr Stephen Martin, offered a rousing medley of popular songs with soloists performing the verses. Songs included Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You, Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts, Queen’s We Will Rock You, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and Bon Jovi’s Livin' on a Prayer.

After the interval, Mr Bleasdale conducted the Joint Orchestra in atmospheric performances of March to the Scaffold and Radetzky March. The Chamber Choir performed an arrangement of the of the well known Beatles number Strawberry Fields, beginning in a gentle lyrical style and building to a more emphatic statement featuring rich harmonies. In contrast, they then performed an exquisite lively setting of the traditional nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence, a capella.

The Jazz Band, comprising girls and boys, has performed at many prestigious events, including the Montreux Jazz Festival and at the Royal Academy of Music in London as part of the National Concert Band Finals. Wherever they appear, they invariably excite and entrance audiences, and this was no exception. Directed by Miss Fiona Berry the group gave dynamic performances of Talk is Cheep and Soul Sacrifice.

The finale involved everyone, including the audience. Union Jack flag waving pupils kept time to some roof-raising patriotic sing-alongs, including Jerusalem, Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and Auld Lang Syne, including a unique gangnam style take on the dance! It truly was a finale of dramatic proportions.

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Bolton School Joint Concert at Victoria Hall

The Victoria Hall was packed to the rafters for the Bolton School Joint Gala Concert - click on the photo to enlarge it

Bolton School Joint Concert at Victoria Hall

The Jazz band got the audience tapping their feet to their lively performance

Bolton School Joint Concert at Victoria Hall

The concert ended with a dramatic and patriotic finale