Moving Music at May Serenade
Wednesday, 07 May 2014
The May Serenade marks both a beginning and an end. The May Serenade traditionally marks the first formal commitment for the next year’s Prefects, Deputy Head Girls and Head Girl in their new roles, and a number of Year 6 girls who have accepted offers of places at Bolton School in the coming year were invited to attend. However, for the Year 13 pupils, the May Serenade is the last concert event they are involved with before leaving the school. It was therefore a poignant evening for many members of the Sixth Form.
The evening was preceded by an exhibition of GCSE Art, which was displayed at the back of the Great Hall. A wide variety of styles and mediums were on display, including fine pen and ink drawings, ceramics, and stunning canvases. Textiles and Technology GCSE final pieces were also on display. The guests had a wonderful time looking at the girls’ creations, discussing their influences and enjoying the craftsmanship involved in creating each piece.
The concert itself was a great mix of classical and modern music, and as such there was something for everyone to enjoy.
The Junior Concert Band opened the evening with two pieces from the movies: ‘You’ll Be In My Heart’, written by Phil Collins for Disney’s Tarzan, followed by Klaus Badelt’s rousing Pirates of the Caribbean theme.
The Percussion Ensemble, led by Mr Forgrieve, then played ‘Four Scottish Dances’. The students played the fast-paced piece very well and perfectly in time. The String Orchestra followed with Vivaldi’s ‘Double Violin Concerto in A Minor’. They played the first and last sections of the Concerto, with Fay Wan and Alice Rigby leading the orchestra as soloists. The orchestra was made up of a real range of ages, with pupils from the Junior Girls’ School playing alongside Sixth Formers, and the quality of the performance was superb.
The Accidentals performed another familiar hit, ‘’S Wonderful’ by George and Ira Gershwin. With light accompaniment from the piano, the focus was on the girls’ voices and they captivated the audience.
The Intermediate Concert Band played the dramatic ‘Skyfall’ from the latest James Bond film. They then changed the tone of the evening with ‘Party Dance Mix’, which combined Maroon 5’s ‘Moves Like Jagger’, Owl City and Billy Rae Jepsen’s ‘Good Time’, and LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem’ into one feel-good medley! The inclusion of the line, “Every day I’m shuffling”, vocalised by the whole orchestra, and the clever use of mobile phones to create the white noise from the start of LMFAO’s hit really brought the medley to life – and smiles to the audience!
The Joint Orchestra next gave a beautiful rendition of ‘Rosemunde Ballet Music No. 2’ by Schubert. However, they then returned to the unofficial cinematic theme by performing ‘Themes from 007’, which combines ‘The James Bond Theme’ with ‘For Your Eyes Only’, ‘Live and Let Die’, and ‘Goldfinger’. They played with gusto and the familiar tunes were a real treat.
The Senior Concert Band returned to the classical with their pieces. Year 13 student Holly Holt played the flute solo in Cécile Chaminade’s ‘Concertino’. This was followed by ‘Clarinet Candy’, during which clarinettists Natasha Lomas and Eleanor Pickard (Year 13), Polly Adams (Year 12), and Vasudha Marthi (Year 10) performed as soloists on the stage.
After a brief set change, the Middle School Choir performed ‘Catch A Falling Star’, which they performed delicately to a piano accompaniment. They then sang ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ from the musical Gold Diggers of 1935 – a very different piece, which they tackled with great enthusiasm!
They were followed by the Senior Flute Quartet. They first played ‘The Gypsies’ Chorus’ by Georges Bizet, followed by ‘Over the Rainbow’ from The Wizard of Oz. It was then the Senior Choir’s turn to sing: a moving cover of ‘Close to You’ which flowed well with the previous piece. They followed this with the contrasting song ‘Sway’, popularised by Dean Martin and most recently by Michael Bublé. The String Quartet followed this in similar style with ‘Tango’, composed by Michael McLean.
The Senior Chamber Choir performed Rachmaninov’s ‘Ave Maria’ with stunning clarity, with the hall in complete silence as they sang. They then changed the pace again with ‘Ticket to Ride’, which got a number of toes tapping along in time with the music!
The Jazz Band ended the evening with a couple of pieces rooted on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. They first played ‘Sao Paulo’, which allowed the saxophonists in the group to shine, and followed this with ‘America’, from West Side Story. The upbeat, jazzy rhythms of both pieces made a perfect end to the May Serenade.
Headmistress Sue Hincks congratulated all of the pupils on their spectacular performances throughout the evening, and gave special attention to those Sixth Formers who will be leaving school for the last time after their final A-Level exams. Mentioning them by name and asking them to stand, she encouraged the audience to applaud their contributions to the school’s musical life for the past seven years.
A departing collection was held for the Brathay Trust, a charity which aims to improve the life chances of young people and inspire them to succeed.
Listen to the whole concert at Bolton School’s Soundcloud.
Watch the Middle School Choir perform ‘Catch a Falling Star’ at Bolton School’s YouTube channel.