With over 100 performances from the Music Department already this academic year, the End of Year Showcase Concert is always a highlight and a perfect end to some outstanding music-making throughout the school year.
Opening this summer soiree of music, the Percussion Ensemble gave us a taste of summer to come, with some exciting Latin American pieces on the theme of the vibrant Salsa and Mambo dances. Following this, and filling the Memorial Hall with some funky vibes, was the Jazz Ensemble. Their laid-back flair, hard-hitting grooves (including some stylish slap bass playing!), and delightful swing-style charmed the audience with seasonal sophistication.
After a brief reset of the stage, it was the turn of the Junior Strings. With rhythmic tenacity and drive, their opening piece grabbed the attention of the audience, with auxiliary ‘foot percussion’ to match! Their consequent pieces revealed the dexterity this ensemble has in performing a variety of different styles – from French Romanticism to English Baroque, and even Elton John! A fabulous programme of string-tastic variety!
Displaying some talent within the individual instrument ensembles, and with a favourite from Queen, the Saxophone Ensemble exhibited excellent ensemble skills, blend, and musicianship as they performed Bohemian Rhapsody to an appreciative audience. Sticking to the theme of popular music, and with another favourite, the rich sonorities of the Cello Ensemble resonated through the Memorial Hall as they performed Yesterday by The Beatles. In this pupil-led ensemble, there was a moment for everyone to showcase their talents.
From Saving Private Ryan, Hymn to the Fallen by John Williams is a sensitive and lyrical piece, in which the Brass Ensemble delivered a profound and thoughtful performance. With an expressive sense of line, and delicate dynamics, this was truly a memorable performance.
The threaded theme of film music continued with the Sinfonia Strings, playing excerpts from Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean; this thrilling and stirring performance excited the audience with its pulsating drive and memorable musical themes. They followed this with the first movement of Vivaldi’s Double Violin Concerto in A minor. Remaining sprightly and rhythmic throughout, this Baroque classic established a full-bodied and mature sound from such young string players. Huge congratulations must go to the two soloists, Flo M and Otto R, for their outstanding performance this evening.
Concluding the concert was a hearty and nourishing performance of Barbarossa by the Concert Band. Coaxing some velvety sonorities, juxtaposed with some spikey accents, this was a fabulous and enriching end to a tremendous concert.
What is always so special about the End of Year Showcase is that it is an excellent exhibition of the talent in the younger years, and as such it is always a reminder that there is so much musical talent to come through the College. Congratulations to all the performers!
Have a fantastic summer break, and see you next academic year for more outstanding music making…
Choirmaster and Director of Chapel Music