The ‘Encore’ Concert has always been a special event and a favourite in the annual musical calendar and this year raised the bar to new heights. It is in every respect a celebration of success and of the impact of Cranleigh Music 7-18; a chance to celebrate with our talented youngsters and hear all the winning performances from the instrumental competitions spread throughout the year in both Schools. In a change to the established format, the performances were heard by instrumental category (Strings, Woodwind, Brass, Piano, Percussion, Voice) in age order, starting with the younger performers at Cranleigh Prep School and progressing through the Junior and then Senior winners of the Helen Wareham Competitions. This proved a fascinating insight into the whole concept of carefully nurtured progression which is such a feature of the 7-18 structure. The Prep School performers: Maya Magee (voice), Noah Charlesworth (cello), William Grainger (euphonium), Jasmine Davis (flute) and Jemima Porter (xylophone) made a huge impact with the black-tie bedecked audience who were wildly impressed by the musicality and maturity shown by the youngest performers. The Junior Helen Wareham Winners were represented by Bethany Porter (voice) showing impressive vocal control and clearly relishing the fine resonant acoustic of the Emms Centre; Zoe Dixon (cello) by turn rhythmic and reflective in a quartet of short pieces by Manuel de Falla. Great beauty of tone and utmost care for smooth phrasing was shown by Christian Oldfield (trumpet) and both Emma Grainger (clarinet) and Millie Mazzone (piano) ably demonstrated their sense of poise and musicianship.
It was, however, rightly to the Seniors that this evening belonged. Both Theo Golden (voice) and Olivia Chesser (violin) showed their consummate care for tone and phrasing in Purcell’s beautiful ‘Music for a While’ and Wieniawski’s Romance from the Violin Concerto. Fayruz Megdiche was similarly impressive both in beauty of sound and technical agility in two contrasting movements by Nielsen. For two performers: Tim Ayling (French Horn) and George Wilkinson (clarinet) both in the upper sixth this marked their final performance in a stellar contribution to the musical life of the school over five years and they were rightly thanked by the Director of Music. Tim performed the idiomatic ‘Hunter’s Moon’ a real showpiece for the instrument and George rounded off the whole evening with the sultry, smoky tones of ‘Georgia on my mind’ in a beautifully conceived and executed arrangement for clarinet and piano. They, of course are but two of a wider body of excellent musicians who have made their mark at Cranleigh and for whom the time has now come to move on to pastures new. We thank all the Upper Sixth most sincerely and wish them every success in all their musical endeavours in the future.