Music Festival

Tuesday 30th January 2024

On Sunday 28th January, the triennial Music Festival took place here in College. Taking over five areas of the campus, over 250 performances were given by pupils from Shell to Upper Sixth. There were 16 different classes with a wide range of categories, and participants ranged from beginners to members of the National Youth Orchestra. A myriad of esteemed external adjudicators joined the event, including the current Head of Strings at a specialist music school. Arguably the greatest thing about this busy day was the enthusiastic involvement and interest in this celebration of music from so many pupils, allowing them to display their talents and dedicated effort.

The Artistic Director called the day: “a truly uplifting and inclusive occasion”, offering the chance for pupils to proudly reflect on their achievements with the help of a supportive audience in the form of peers, parents and teachers. Anyone visiting the event would have been inspired by the atmosphere in the performance venues, and even in the corridors, where nervous musicians warmed up as they congratulated those having just played. The standard was incredibly high throughout, even by first-time performers, with confidence building throughout their pieces. The Artistic Director commented: “Artistic competition will always produce healthy debate and at times even an element of controversy” which was certainly the case over the course of the day as lively conversations with a range of opinions emerged.

In the singing categories, two separate classes were won by one performer whose rich warm tone, infectious expressiveness, and ability to cover a wide range of notes undoubtedly gained her the deserving wins. All vocal performances provided a huge variety of music, from heartbroken songs such as Candle in the Wind to popular hits like Valerie. The Woodwind and Brass category enticed a packed performance room, and like most of the senior sections, produced an impressively high standard. The seniors were not the only ones to walk away with prizes however; two impressive pianists in their first year wowed the audience with polished performances of Bach and Beethoven pieces, beating older fellow musicians. Many names were repeated on the programme, with one of the most enthusiastic performers playing in six classes throughout the day. The Chamber Music groups provided a true sense of what music is all about; passion, dedication and community. A hypnotic viola, clarinet and piano trio was placed first, followed closely by a flute trio and a cello duet. The non-verbal communication and understanding between the performers was incredible and, spanning year groups, this showed how music can bring people together. This sense of collaboration was also displayed as pupil-led Pop and Rock Bands took the opportunity to perform, including a joyful rendition of There She Goes.

The day was an impressive effort from all involved, and was a wonderful way to celebrate the many different aspects of College music.

Pupil review by Faith S

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