It was great to have the Woodwind and Brass competitions back on Friday after the Covid enforced break. There is nothing quite like performing in front of a live audience and every single student rose to the occasion magnificently. It was a truly enjoyable day of music making, from start to finish.

At lunchtime the Junior Brass section prize went to Patrick, whose confident performance of Edward Gregson’s ‘Divertimento’ for trombone had style, musicality and a great sound. A special mention must also be made of Rafe who gave an excellent rendition of ’Kim’ by Allan Street, despite injuring his collarbone the previous evening.

The Junior Woodwind section started the evening concert. This was extremely competitive and featured excellent playing all round. An incredibly wide variety of music from La Cucaracha, to Bach, to Brahms, to John Williams and back again was played. Charlie’s performance of the ‘Vivace’ from Brahms’ F minor clarinet sonata was incredibly engaging and showed some dazzling technique, but Emily took the prize with her beautifully phrased and well controlled playing of the 1st and 2nd movements of J.S. Bach’s 6th flute sonata.

The Seniors in both brass and woodwind put on a combined performance to finish the evening off. High quality playing was on show throughout and every performer had prepared their piece exceptionally well. Dominic took the prize in the Senior Brass section with a totally assured performance on trombone of ‘Les Chansons Dans La Coulisse’ by Yvonne Desportes, featuring a wide dynamic range, fantastic projection and a rich sound. The Senior Woodwind section was another very close call, with Ned’s performance of Elgar’s ‘Chanson de Matin’ on clarinet and Ollie’s playing of Debussy’s ‘Danse Bohemienne’ on saxophone, both being exceptionally well prepared and engaging. Lucia’s playing of the aria and ostinato from John Rutter’s ‘Suite Antique’ for flute took first place due to her beautiful phrasing and sound which created a thoroughly enjoyable performance.

Congratulations to all the musicians who took part.