May Serenade Celebrates Musical Talents
Thursday, 03 May 2018
The May Serenade is traditionally the last whole school musical event in the Girls’ Division calendar each year, and never fails to be an occasion of outstanding performances. The programme was filled with a selection of choral, instrumental and orchestral pieces and also included solo performances from four pupils. With pupils from all year groups taking part, the evening showed the breadth and depth of musical involvement and ability in the School.
Those who arrived early were able to enjoy a display of Art and Design coursework before settling in the Great Hall to enjoy the music. The pieces on display were created for GCSE and A Level Art, Product Design and Textiles and there were also photographs of girls’ Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE products. The work showed pupils’ dedication, skill and creativity and made a wonderful start to the evening.
The Joint Intermediate opened the concert with an upbeat performance of ‘Fame’ followed by the theme from ‘Family Guy’, instantly recognisable to many. A member of the new Head Girl team then welcomed the audience before the May Serenade began in earnest.
The Girls’ Division Percussion Ensemble played two cheerful pieces of music: ‘Log Cabin Blues’ and ‘Tango’. This was followed by a truly impressive rendition of J. S. Bach’s ‘Concerto for Two Violins in G Minor (1st movement)’ with Katie Couriel in Year 10 and Alice Edwards in Year 7 giving stunning solo performances.
The Chamber Choir then took centre stage to sing ‘Oceans and Stars’. Their second song, ‘They Can’t Take That Away From Me’, was led by the Chamber Choir leavers: seven Year 13 students who will leave the School this summer after completing their A Levels.
The Girls’ Division Steel Pans gave an upbeat performance of The Jackson Five’s hit ‘Blame it on the Boogie’. This was followed by ‘The Parting Glass’, a moving traditional Scottish song which was given beautiful harmonies by a capella group The Accidentals. The Girls’ Division Senior Flute Quartet played ‘Jour d'été à la montagne (1st and 4th movements)’ with skill and energy. The Middle School Choir then sang ‘This Is Me’ with some very impressive solos from younger pupils during the verses, and the Joint Senior Clarinet Ensemble gave a lovely performance of ‘Four Slavonic Dances (1st Movement)’ and ‘Cotton Candy’.
Last year’s Carter Cup winner Caroline Blair, who is now in Year 13, sang ‘Le Colibri’ as a solo.
This was followed by a performance from the Joint String Ensemble, playing Mozart’s ‘Quartet no. 3 in G Major (1st movement)’. The Senior Choir then sang two pieces: ‘He Lives In You’ from The Lion King and ‘Fields of Gold’, which is also traditionally sung at the final whole school assembly of the year.
Mrs Price, the Girls’ Division Head of Music, then led the presentation of the Music Festival awards. This is always a hotly contested event, and this year was the biggest ever with the largest number of entries on record. The adjudicator was percussionist and cellist Jonathan Kitchen. Many awards were conferred across numerous categories over the course of the Music Festival, including new novice categories for pupils who may never had even had a music lesson before, and going right up to pupils who will go on to conservatoires and to study Music at university. The May Serenade saw the presentation of two awards: the Most Promising Musician Award, given to pupils of any age and ability who show the most potential, and the Carter Cup, awarded to an outstanding musician who has achieved their full potential and shown themselves to be a star in terms of both performance and musical citizenship.
Mrs Price this year established a new Bolton School tradition whereby the previous year’s winner would pass down their trophies. She therefore invited Lucy Stiles, last year’s Most Promising Musician, to present the trophy to this year’s joint winners Alice Edwards in Year 7 and Roxanne Asumu in Year 10. Caroline Blair passed on the Carter Cup to this year’s winner and her musical colleague, saxophonist Abigail Naylor, also in Year 13.
The May Serenade then continued with a performance Roxanne of the traditional Russian piece ‘Black Eyes’ on the piano. The Joint Senior Concert Band then brought the evening to a spectacular close by playing ‘Windows of the World’. The four movements were titled Amazonia, Rainforest, Drums of Thunder and Earth Walk and offered an exciting, intense and celebratory conclusion to the evening’s music.
One of the Deputy Head Girls thanking the performers, musical directors and members of staff for all their hard work in putting together the May Serenade and invited the audience to join in another round of applause for everyone.
The May Serenade was also the perfect opportunity to bid farewell to students in Year 13, as this was their last concert before leaving Bolton School. In her closing address, Miss Hincks asked the Year 13s to stand and led the audience in a round of applause for all these students who have done so much for music throughout their school careers.
A retiring collection was held for the Girls’ Division charity of the term, the Make A Wish Foundation.
Click the links throughout the article or the links below to watch a selection of musical pieces from the May Serenade:
- Fame - Joint Intermediate Concert Band
- Log Cabin Blues - Girls’ Division Percussion Ensemble
- Concerto for Two Violins in G minor (1st movement) - Katie Couriel (Year 10) and Alice Edwards (Year 7)
- They Can't Take That Away From Me - Chamber Choir
- Blame it on the Boogie - Girls’ Division Steel Pans
- The Parting Glass - The Accidentals
- Jour d'été à la montagne (1st movement) - Senior Flute Quartet
- This is Me - Middle School Choir
- Four Slavonic Dances (1st movement) - Joint Senior Clarinet Ensemble
- Le Colibri - voice, Caroline Blair (Year 13)
- Quartet no. 3 in G Major (1st movement) - Joint String Ensemble
- Fields of Gold - Senior Choir
- Black Eyes - piano, Roxanne Asumu in Year 10
- Windows of the World - Joint Senior Concert Band
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