Tuesday, 02 May 2017
The May Serenade was once again filled with spectacular performances from girls in Years 7 to 13. As the last concert featuring the whole of the School before older girls depart for examinations, the evening is always a special and memorable occasion, and this year was no exception.
Prior to the concert, parents and family members were able to enjoy a wonderful exhibition of pupils’ varied GCSE Art and Technology work.
As the audience took their seats in the sunlit Great Hall, the Joint Senior Concert Band opened the concert with rousing selections from Wicked, followed by the uplifting tune of Michael Buble’s ‘Just Haven’t Met You Yet’.
Each of the School’s varied ensembles had its moment in the spotlight throughout the May Serenade. The Joint Senior Clarinet Choir played ‘Hava Nagila’ with great energy, while the String Quintet gave a dignified performance of Purcell’s ‘Rondeau’ from Adelazer. The girls in the Steel Pan Ensemble did an excellent job with their pair of cheerful numbers: ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ and ‘Hakuna Matata’ from The Lion King. The Flute Quartet played the complex ‘Scherzo’ from Midsummer Night’s Dream with confidence and grace.
A number of soloists performed throughout the evening, adding variety to the programme. Samantha Schofield in Year 9 gave a rendition of ‘Swedish Concert’ on the flute and pianist Chloe Tsang in Year 10 played ‘Berceuse in Db Major’. Alisha Maini from Year 13 was the selected Sixth Form soloist, playing ‘Hypnosis’ on the flute.
At the heart of the evening, Miss Hincks presented two prizes from the Music Festival in February. The Most Promising Musician Award was given to Lucy Stiles in Year 10 for her accomplished performances on the piano and saxophone. Caroline Blair in Year 12 received the Carter Cup for her vocal performance as the adjudicators judged her to be the overall outstanding musician. The audience was treated to compelling performances from both award-winning musicians later in the programme: Lucy played ‘Petites Litanies de Jesus’ on the piano, and Caroline sang Mozart’s ‘Deh Vieni Non Tardar’.
Solo and ensemble performances were interspersed with singing from the choirs. The Senior Choir were in fine voice as they sang ‘Field of Gold’, followed by an enthusiastic delivery of ‘One Day More’ from the musical Les Miserables. The Accidentals moved the audience with their renditions of Rutter’s ‘A Prayer of St Patrick’ and ‘When We Were Young’. The Middle School Choir added some 80s pop to the programme with Toto’s upbeat hit ‘Africa’. The Joint Chamber Choir moved their set of pieces from the traditional, with ‘Cantate Domino’, through ‘Echo’, to the more modern ‘Royals’ which featured pupils’ beatboxing below the melody.
The May Serenade came to a close with the Joint Senior Orchestra, performing Berlioz’s ‘March to the Scaffold’ and Bizet’s ‘Farandole’. These two pieces were played with confidence and spirit by the orchestra and made for an excellent finale.
At the end of the May Serenade, Girls’ Division Headmistress Sue Hincks led the audience in thanking Mrs Price and Mr Bleasdale, the Directors of Music in the Girls’ and Boys’ Divisions, along with all of the music teachers and peripatetic music staff for the wonderful repertoire and for rehearsing the musicians to achieve such a high standard of performance.
She went on to note that the May Serenade is a swan-song for the Year 13 musicians in both Divisions, and also this year for Mrs Rainer who will leave the School in the summer. She asked the Year 13s to stand and receive applause, congratulating them on all they have achieved and thanking them for so many years of beautiful music. The Sixth Form girls also expressed their moving appreciation to the whole of the Music Department and particularly Mrs Price, presenting her with flowers and chocolates.
As the audience departed, a retiring collection was held for the Age UK.
Click the links below to watch the May Serenade performances:
Joint Senior Concert Band: Selections from Wicked - Just Haven’t Met You Yet
Soloist Samantha Schofiled (Flute): Swedish Concert
Joint Senior Clarinet Choir: Hava Nagila
Girls’ Division Senior Choir: Fields of Gold - One Day More (Les Miserables)
Girls’ Division Senior String Quintet: Rondeau (Abdelazer)
Soloist Chloe Tsang (Piano): Berceuse in Db Major
The Accidentals: A Prayer of St Patrick - When We Were Young
Girls’ Division Steel Pan Ensemble: Don’t Worry, Be Happy - Hakuna Matata (The Lion King)
Soloist Lucy Stiles (Piano): Petites Litanies de Jesus
Girls’ Division Senior Flute Quartet: Scherzo (Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Soloist Caroline Blair (Voice): Deh Vieni Non Tardar
Girls’ Division Middle School Choir: Africa
Soloist Alisha Maini (Flute): Hypnosis
Joint Chamber Choir: Cantate Domino - Echo - Royals
Joint Senior Orchestra: March to the Scaffold
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