Trombone Quartet, Bones Apart, visit Prep and Senior pupils

On Tuesday we had the great privilege of welcoming the pioneering trombone quartet ‘Bones Apart’ to both the Prep and Senior School….

On Tuesday we had the great privilege of welcoming the pioneering trombone quartet ‘Bones Apart’ to both the Prep and Senior School. The group has an entirely female membership and are now celebrating their 25th year as an ensemble. They are led by Helen Vollam, the first woman to be appointed principal trombone of a London orchestra and the first in a UK orchestra this century.

Bones Apart began by entertaining the Prep School pupils with a short concert. The program was excellently judged and had the children enthralled for the full twenty-five minutes. The highlight was a raucous arrangement of ‘Gee Officer Krupke’ from West Side Story, a song familiar to most from the Senior Musical earlier this year albeit in a very different setting. The pupils left chattering excitedly about the concert and we hope that some musicians of the future have been inspired.

This was followed by a workshop involving brass players across the whole age range of the Cranleigh Schools. Players from Form 3 rubbed shoulders with Lower Sixth students three times their height in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Jayne Murrill ran the session with huge enthusiasm and covered repertoire from the hymn tune ‘Repton’ to the samba classic ‘Brazil’. The combined forces of Bones Apart, Cranleigh School brass ensemble and Cranleigh Prep brass made a wonderful sound and the session was enjoyed by staff and students alike.

The final event of the day was an evening recital. Bones Apart performed their ‘Wonder Women’ program which features both music written by female composers and music about strong female role models. The Chapel setting suited a trombone quartet beautifully and the concert was stunning from start to finish. While individual virtuosity was a feature, the striking things were the incredibly tight ensemble, beautiful tone colours and precise intonation. The performance started with an atmospheric rendition of Hildegard von Bingen’s ‘O quam mirablis est’ performed in an antiphonal style with the quartet spread around the Chapel. From there the musical journey took in eight hundred years of music over the course of an hour covering everything from Purcell’s ‘Boudicca’ to a Melba Liston blues, Duke Ellington’s ‘Such Sweet Thunder’ (featuring the agile bass trombone of Sarah Williams) and even some Joni Mitchell. This is a top-class group that do not take themselves too seriously but play everything beautifully. If you get a chance to hear them we would highly recommend taking the opportunity!

We hope to welcome these amazing women back to Cranleigh in the future.

Mr David Eaglestone, Head of Woodwind & Brass

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