Cranleigh Prep and Senior pupils perform at Cranleigh Arts Centre

Cranleigh music pupils from ages 7-18, performed in the local community on Wednesday evening at the Cranleigh Arts Centre. A broad range…

Cranleigh music pupils from ages 7-18, performed in the local community on Wednesday evening at the Cranleigh Arts Centre. A broad range of talented soloists performed to a large and appreciative audience, alongside some advanced chamber music ensembles, and the Prep School Lower School Choir.

Our Lower Fifth and Lower Sixth are two particularly musical year groups, and the soloists who performed are all working around Grade 8 to diploma standard, some on multiple instruments. Performing in the local community is a wonderful way for them to augment their experience in a different environment, and also to contribute to the cultural offering in the village.

The Lower School Choir, under the direction of Mrs Ruth Williams, performed two contrasting songs (Gonna Rise Up Singing, and A Million Dreams), and featured several excellent soloists. Their enthusiasm was palpable, and their vocal lines were beautifully shaped and controlled. There is something very special about the way younger children perform with total commitment and investment, and Mrs Williams drew the very best from her young choir.

Two of the senior singers began their careers in this choir (Bella S. and Maisy B.) and both gave mature and convincing performances of songs by Handel and Howells, respectively. Ava S. gave a wonderfully mature and sophisticated account of Rachmaninov’s Vocalise on the cello, with Anise R’s Allegro Appassionato by Saint-Saens an effective and contrasting counterpart, before both cellists were joined by Evie S. and Bella S. in the cello ensemble, who performed works by Bach and Scott Joplin, highlighting the depth of talent in the cello department. This is in no small part due to the work of teacher Mrs Jenny Janse, who is now running these concerts at the Arts Centre, and under whose direction these young cellists are flourishing.

Pianists Brandon G. and Richard E. gave contrasting and highly skilled accounts of works by Frank Bridge and George Gershwin; both are diploma standard pianists who are able to create exquisite tonal palettes, and who played with control and sophistication.

The brass department was represented by Isla S. (trombone) and Rafe B. (trumpet), both of whom exhibited great stage presence alongside a refined sense of control and rhythmic excitement in modern jazz-infused works. Isla’s considerable natural musicality shone through in a highly idiomatic rendition of David Mitcham’s Trombomatic, whilst Rafe’s blistering cadenzas in Tico Tico were a real highlight.

The senior string quartet were joined by two staff members in Shostakovich’s Intermezzo, from his Piano Quintet, and the control and sophistication which Patrick A., Oscar G. and Charlie M brought to this ensemble allowed them to play as equals with two experienced professionals. Their range of tonal control, and advanced sense of the music led to a moving and idiomatic performance.

Cranleigh Music is in rude health, and this concert was a highlight of the term; that it took place in a local community venue, and allowed a much more eclectic audience to appreciate the depth of talent here, was all the more pleasing, and greatly to the credit of those who took part.

Mr R Saxel, Director of Music

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