Cranleigh is fortunate to have enjoyed over a decade of affiliation with the professional Merriman Concert Orchestra who have given over a decade of high quality concerts in the school.

In a new venture this year, on Sunday 14th October the orchestra held its first Professional Experience Day. Young musicians of advanced standard from all over the South East applied to shadow and perform alongside the musicians of the orchestra to gain valuable experience of the highest professional standard. Twenty-two youngsters aged from 14 to 18 from three southern counties, including Cranleigh pupils, were invited to take part.

Led by Mr Kevin Weaver, and under the baton of conductor Mr Marcus Pashley, the challenging repertoire included Wagner ‘s Overture Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg and Elgar’s iconic Enigma Variations. Cranleigh Sixth Form Music Scholar Millie Mazzone also performed beautifully Wieniawski’s Legende as the violin soloist.

A full Sunday of rehearsal was followed by a late afternoon concert impressively staged in the Speech Hall with programme notes (vital to a full understanding of these particular works) projected on a huge screen above the orchestra. The venture was a huge success, summed up afterwards by one of the young musicians involved:

 I just wanted to say a massive thank you for hosting me for the day. It was such a pleasure to get to know the professionals and explore such exciting repertoire, as well as seeing Cranleigh music in full swing! The concert was stunning and for just a few hours rehearsal was really something exceptionalthe positive atmosphere created truly was infectious.