Singing truly is alive and strong at Cranleigh and it is apt that the first event in this year’s Cranleigh Music Concert Series should see the a cappella vocal group Apollo5 deliver both a thoroughly engaging afternoon workshop and a captivating evening concert. After the success of Les Miserablés and school inspectors commenting that “the whole school singing is particularly rousing” the school choir now tops over eighty students from all year groups. The timing of the visit also coincided with the preparations for House Performance in which Sixth Form students take the lead in arranging and teaching a part-song to their peers. The afternoon workshop exhilarated students with creative warm-ups and a cappella pieces learnt in no more than an hour.
Clare, Charlotte, Ciarán, Greg and Alex certainly tapped the passion for singing that each Cranleighan exuded, filling the Chapel with a big, bold sound. Apollo5 have performed at venues including St Martin-in-the-Fields, the Royal Albert Hall, the Troxy, Café de Paris, the Houses of Parliament, Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, The Crazy Coqs and Kings Place. Their recent UK festivals include The City of London Festival, The London A Cappella Festival, the Petworth Festival and the Aldeburgh High Tide Festival. The five outstanding vocalists also perform internationally, most recently touring the USA before singing at the Festival La Folle Journée, France. It was a real treat to have the group perform in the familiar surroundings of the school to students from Cranleigh Senior and Prep Schools, staff, parents and members of the public. The Chapel provided the most complimenting and superbly sustaining acoustic in which to set the group’s intricate harmonies and clever and diverse repertoire. With a programme offering a tasteful blend of classical, jazz, retro and contemporary pieces – neatly wrapped with witty segues and introductions – there really was something to please everyone’s tastes. During the afternoon and evening many students commented on the precision and depth of expression that the group managed to demonstrate which in turn lead to the school choir’s performance of Stanford’s Magnificat capturing these same qualities.
With the Swingle Singers in 2015 and Apollo5 in 2016, singers at Cranleigh have been given the opportunity to take part in and watch some of the very best a cappella vocals. We look ahead with great anticipation to the combined work of the school choirs and Cranleigh Choral Society in ‘Seascapes’ during the Lent term and the Helen Wareham Vocal Competition.
Head of Contemporary Music