An Evening for Advent

Friday 24th November 2023

Each year, the Music and Modern Languages Departments collaborate in two evening events, the first of which includes the story of Advent taken from the Bible and read in eight languages. The pupils appear to revel in the opportunity and the fluency and changing colours of the languages are a wonder to hear. The Nunc Dimittis, in Arabic, was a special treat this year, with chanting, clapping and accompanying drums!

In between each reading, a pupil from the Music Department sings a relevant sacred song, which equally explores various modern languages. Altogether we heard ten languages sung or spoken.

Paddy C opened with a rich setting by Liguori, displaying his exciting, newly-broken voice. Ava K continued with the first of two English songs, Madonna and child: only 10 weeks at the school and brave enough to stand up in front of a packed Adderley and show us her liquid, beautifully tuned voice. Ben A, Olivia M and Toby M displayed the confidence and calm delivery you would expect from three dedicated Music Scholars – Ben with a strong, decisive Ballad by Loewe, Olivia with a mature poise and beautiful tone in ‘L’enfant dort’ by Chilcott and Toby, who sang with confidence, apparently undisturbed by the wash of curious harmonies underneath, so typical of Warlock.

Claudia S opened the second half, with a soulful, pure and unaffected delivery of ‘It came upon a midnight clear’ in Chinese, and then it was a delight to welcome back a Beak to the stage – Anna Little so comfortable exploring her rich vocal timbre in Verdi’s ‘Ave Maria’. This inclusion of a Beak has become something of a tradition, with a past head of Modern Languages and past Master both taking huge pleasure in displaying their vocal talents in previous years, and working alongside the pupils as equals.

Josh T followed with a wonderfully Romantic rendition of a song by Varlamov – surely a composer worth exploring in the future.

It was a joy to hear Alexia M-K sing ‘Silent Night’ in her mother-tongue of Polish – a carol enjoyed in so many countries across Europe, before the final item brought with it the addition of a clarinet, played sensitively by Olivia L, alongside the solid and beautiful singing of Idris S.

All participants, and we hope audience, will be yearning for the Liederabend, next term, which will display a concert of songs in various European languages, deftly translated by pupils from the Modern Languages Department.

Clare Toomer
Deputy Head of Music

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