The first of our annual series of music competitions saw percussionists and guitarists take centre stage in a packed-out Recital Hall. The concert was far more of a celebration of the hard work and musicality from this group of musicians than a competition. The element of competition in music is somewhat of a catalyst for more focussed and consistent practice, but is also a fantastic platform for students to watch each other perform. This is particularly true when younger musicians can draw inspiration from seeing what a few more years of progress looks and sounds like.

The concert programme moved back and forth between drum kit, electric guitar, marimba and acoustic guitar. There were musicians representing every year group, all prepared and taught by Mr Tom Hollister (percussion) and Mr Chris Maxfield (guitar). We are hugely grateful for their ongoing direction and support of those they teach.

The most notable thread running through each performance was the attention to technical skill and ‘feel’. These go hand-in-hand to help convey a piece to the audience. ‘Feel’ could be the connection to the ‘groove’ or ‘pocket’; essentially the way the performer places strokes or notes against the pulse. ‘Feel’ might also be the physicality and expression presented by the performer, or the contrast and dynamics created by control of the instrument.

There were junior and senior winners of each category, but I would like to give some honourable mentions to some of the junior musicians. Rupert H.’s ‘Spirit Of The Radio’, James W.’s ‘Love Rears Its Ugly Head’ and Isaac T.’s ‘Chop Suey’ were impressive on all the points mentioned above; they deserve to be accompanied by a band and enjoyed by a much larger audience. Lucinda L. and Shivan B. both gave masterful performances of two pieces from the RockSchool repertoire for electric guitar, ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Base Jumper’. There is so much potential in these Fourth Form musicians and I hope they continue to practise and collaborate throughout their time at Cranleigh.

The winners were:

Junior Percussion – Monty N.
Senior Percussion – D.
Junior Guitar – Jamie T.
Senior Guitar – Barnaby R.