Review: Wind Department Concert

The annual Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Department Christmas Concert was simply thrilling, propelled along by the passion of the pupils under the enthusiastic and expert direction of Alex Arkwright and supported notably by Hayley Lambert and Sacha Johnson.

The Big Band swung into action with joyous vibrancy driven on by its rhythm section which was a constant source of high voltage energy. Their performance was characterised by the tightness of their ensemble, dynamic variation and the sensitivity of the many and varied soloists.   Whilst it is always invidious to single out soloists for special mention, credit must be given to the creative and technically assured performances of Georgia Gibson (EL U6), George Cayley (CO U6) and Hannah Cameron (IH U6).

The Junior Percussion Ensemble showed great technical and rhythmic skill in The Octopus by Alex Neal. This was followed by the sophisticated creativity of the Jazz Ensemble. Solos were all impressively handled and the way the performers listened and reacted to each other was mesmerising.

What followed by the Senior Percussion Ensemble took the breath away in their colourful, intensely focused performance of Shock Factor. With vocal effects, tension-building ostinatos we were taken to a dramatic world of high intensity. The evening finished with the classy Wind Ensemble “Brasser” who played with a high level of musical understanding. Transitions of tempo and complicated syncopations were well handled and there was a lovely sense of line through the melodic phrases. Fergal Carroll’s Winter Dances captivated with their contrast of musical ideas and varied use of tone colour. This was stylish playing that brought the music to life.

A wonderfully varied concert that was filled with a positive heart-warming energy that left its audience inspired and excited for the arrival of the New Year.

Hector Scott
Head of Strings

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