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Bridgewater Gala Concert is a Celebration in Music

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Bolton School started its 100th and 500th birthday celebrations with a spectacular whole school Gala Concert at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, which showcased the widespread participation and individual musical excellence that is to be found within the School.  A capacity audience of parents, staff, former pupils, governors and friends of the School enjoyed an evening of wonderful performances in the spectacular venue as Bolton came to Manchester. 

Mrs Andrea Price, Head of Music in the Girls’ Division, opened the evening conducting the choirs of the Infant, Junior Schools and Senior Schools as well as the Joint Chamber Choir and the newly formed Friends of Bolton School Community Choir.  They offered up a rousing version of Let Your Light Shine and were exquisitely supported by the Senior Concert Band. The evening continued apace with Miss Fiona Berry directing the Concert Band in lively renditions of Phil Collins’ Two Worlds and Bugler’s Holiday which featured Paul Greenhalgh, Ian Winstanley and Isobel Faulkner.

Students’ percussion skills were showcased through A Bridgewater Bash!  Mr Ian Forgrieve wrote the piece specifically for the event and conducted the Joint Tuned Percussion Ensemble in their faultless rendition of it. Mr Jeremy Bleasdale, Head of Music in the Boys’ Division, directed the Senior Guitar Group in their catchy and upbeat versions of Ain’t Nobody and Bamboleo.

In one of the many highlights of the night, a group of Year 2 pupils from the Infant School, directed by Mrs Price, offered a moving interpretation of This Little Light of Mine. They received a huge round of applause, having flawlessly performed on the enormous stage of the North-West’s premier concert venue in front of over 2,000 people!

They were followed by the Joint Chamber Choir who sang equally wonderfully, with Mr Jonathan Ainscough and Mrs Catherine Whitmore directing them through, respectively, Run to You and The Battle of Jericho. The first half climaxed with the stirring Massed Voices of over 250 Year 7 pupils, directed by Mrs Alison Hampson, who sang Let Me Go, You Raise Me Up and You Got It.

The  Senior Drum Corps, led by Mr Ian Forgrieve, welcomed in the second half of the evening with the specially written Bridgewater Salute and then, directed by Mrs Stephanie Ives, it was the turn of the Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ School Choirs to delight with their harmonious singing of John Rutter’s Look at the World.

The audience enjoyed a “blast from the past” when Miss Fiona Berry directed the Jazz Band through an upbeat Glen Miller Medley, which involved some impressive ballroom dancing sequences from pupils. The Senior Orchestra, conducted by Miss Clare Deady, offered a restrained and emotive rendition of Stravinsky’s Berceuse and Finale from Firebird.

The Senior Orchestra, led by Mrs Andrea Price, were joined by the voices of the two Senior School Choirs, the Joint Chamber Choir and the Friends of the School Choir in singing a Hymn to the Fallen, a precursor to the Grand Finale World War I Medley. The final piece was introduced by the Shree Swaminarayan Gadi Pipe Band, featuring several Boys’ Division pupils, who made a dramatic entrance down the aisles, playing the Skye Boat Song. The audience, Junior School Choirs and Massed Year 7 voices joined the Senior Choirs, Chamber Choir, Friends’ Choir and the Massed Orchestra to offer a musical tribute commemorating the role which the School played and to the 81 Old Boys who had lost their lives in the Great War.

The Bridgewater Hall had never seen anything quite like this and it was an evening that is likely to live long in the memories of participants and audience alike. There was a retiring collection for Help the Heroes.

The concert was the first of several Bolton School events that will run over the next 2 years to celebrate the School’s centenary of the current Foundation and 500 years of education in Bolton. There was a retiring collection for Help the Heroes.


To watch a full recording of the Bridgewater Hall Concert, click the play button below:

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Over 2,000 voices fill the Bridgewater Hall in the Grand Finale World War I Medley

Over 2,000 voices fill the Bridgewater Hall in the Grand Finale World War I Medley

The Chamber Choir perform the Battle of Jericho, directed by Mrs Whitmore

The Chamber Choir perform the Battle of Jericho, directed by Mrs Whitmore

The Joint Jazz Band offered up a tribute to Glen Miller

The Joint Jazz Band offered up a tribute to Glen Miller