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Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The Joint Autumn Concert was a spectacular occasion, involving pupils from Years 7 to 13 across both Divisions.
The event began with an address from Miss Sue Hincks, Headmistress of the Girls’ Division. She welcomed the audience to the Girls’ Division Great Hall and introduced the two new Directors of Music, one in each of the Senior Schools. For both Miss Price and Mr Bleasdale, this was the first joint venture since they took over the position, and it was a huge success.
Girls’ Division Prefects and Boys’ Division Monitors provided brief introductions throughout the evening, which gave each group of performers and their pieces of music added context. They first introduced the Percussion Ensemble directed by Mr Forgrieve, performing ‘The Downfall of Paris’, a traditional piece, and the samba ‘Oye Como Va’.
The Intermediate Concert Band, conducted by Miss Berry, followed this with performances of ‘Music from Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘A Tribute to Michael Jackson’ – a pair of upbeat and lively medleys which tested the full extent of their abilities.
Next to perform was the Girls’ Division Senior String Quartet. The group added a touch of excellent Classical performance to the evening with Bach’s ‘Brandenburg Concerto No.3’. The girls played this well-known piece to an extremely high standard.
The Senior Guitar Group then took centre stage. Mrs Reina led them in a stirring performance of ‘Hey Brother’, and Mr Bleasdale conducted an enjoyable medley of songs by The Police.
Miss Deady led the Senior Orchestra in two contrasting pieces, both composed for the stage. The first was ‘Farandole from L’Arlésienne, Suite No.2’, written by Georges Bizet to accompany a play of the same name. This was followed by ‘Highlights from Wicked’, the Broadway musical about the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.
The Boys’ Division Senior Classical Guitar Quartet played the staccato ‘Tango from Dance Suite’ and a Spanish-style fantasy, ‘Arena y Sol’.
This was followed by another change in tone as the Senior Chamber Choir took to the stage. Performing the traditional Sioux piece ‘Give Me Strength’ conducted by Mrs Whitmore, the Senior Chamber Choir added a lovely touch of variety to the evening as the only choir in the programme. A more upbeat and slightly jazzy performance of ‘Wade in the Water’ led by Mr Ainscough acted as the perfect lead-in to the Jazz Band, conducted by Miss Berry. With plenty of solos from different musicians, the Jazz Band’s performance gave each section of the group a chance to shine, from the brass section to the flautists to the band’s pianist and drummers. The Jazz Band played ‘City Dock’ before bringing the music to a close with ‘Lip Service’.
Finally, Boys’ Division Headmaster Mr Philip Britton closed the evening with a short vote of thanks, first to the audience for their support of the musicians, and then to the performers themselves.
The Joint Autumn Concert was a wonderful evening full of excellent musical performances in a wide variety of styles and genres. The audience thoroughly enjoyed each and every piece throughout the evening, as evidenced by the enormous round of applause that filled the Great Hall at the close of the concert.
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