On Friday 8th December the Christmas Concert featured performances from the School’s larger ensembles, performing to a packed Speech Hall. Conductors Kevin Weaver, Andrew Thomas and David Eaglestone had clearly worked hard with their respective ensembles to provide a particularly satisfying mix of music from Vivaldi to ‘Wicked’, liberally peppered with festive cheer, as were the performers with fake snow during the Big Band’s finale “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”.
The Symphony Orchestra impressed with a tight ensemble and jaunty rhythmic drive in the tuneful ‘English Folksong Suite’ by Vaughan Williams, with particularly well-projected solo passages from principal woodwind players. Versatility was to the fore in highlights from Stephen Schwartz’s hit musical ‘Wicked’ and an accomplished concerto for strings by Vivaldi. Wind and brass took the fore in highlights from ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Sleigh Bells Jingling’ from the Concert Band and a very well played selection of ‘Gershwin greats’ by the Symphonic Wind Band.
The newly-reformed Brass Ensemble were a particular highlight of the evening with a further selection of festive favourites played with crisp articulation and an impressive sense of ensemble. The Big Band were on fine form, finishing the evening with a selection of moods, including accompaniment of a vocal ensemble featuring Honor Reid as soloist and a slick all-girl backing group.
In his concluding thanks Director of Music, Marcus Pashley paid tribute to the musical energy so evident throughout the evening, particularly so near to the end of a long term, also thanking members of Common Room and visiting music staff who give of their time to support these events.