Junior Summer Concert
25 May 2012
Review of Junior Concert Summer 2012
At the start of this year’s Junior Concert, Mr Allain, the Director of Music, welcomed us to the Refectory, which he affectionately referred to as ‘the aircraft hanger’! Having enjoyed a fabulous hour and a half of music-making by our wonderfully talented junior musicians, there is no doubt that a queue for passport control would go much more quickly in their company.
First up was the Junior Percussion Group, who drove us through Mr Shaw’s ‘Time To Change’ with great confidence and vigour, with good dynamics in the middle and an awareness of the catchy melody. The confidence of the String Ensemble, just five players with Mrs Wortley on harpsichord, was striking: they stood to play, and their beautifully graded dynamics and rock-solid tempo changes conveyed the baroque spirit of the piece to perfection. Dance rhythms and energy flowed through the Intermediate Orchestra’s performance of a Slavonic Dance by Dvorak, and they coped well with the fiendish tempo changes; their Barber of Seville overture was spirited, with a proper Rossini crescendo to enjoy.
Then came a pause and a change of pace and volume, as the Junior Guitar Group took us to Spain with the gentle phrasing and clear, strong rhythms of Farruca. The Intermediate Guitar Group were spell-binding in Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter: they drew the audience in and had us listening intently to the rhythms and dynamics of Mr Breame’s sophisticated arrangement. The air of calm continued with the Junior Choir, whose clear, well-blended tone and immaculate diction brought to life three popular songs, including Run by Snow Patrol. As Mr Allain promised, they clearly do have fun with their singing!
Now for the final third of the concert: louder, more up-tempo, and full of confidence. The Training Band gave us more Rossini, the William Tell overture, and the James Bond theme, with strong rhythms and dynamics here also. The massed ranks of the Second Band now poured onto the stage, and I’m afraid nautical metaphors are irresistible to describe their performances of Barrier Reef and My Heart Will Go On from Titanic: we floated along on wave after wave of sound, and skilfully avoided crashing onto any hidden rocks (or icebergs!). They produced a glorious rich sound, with a great build-up of volume: it could almost have been in 3D. As requested by Mr Brown, I have looked up the musical genre of Watermelon Man on Wikipedia: it’s ‘grooving hard bop’. The Jazz Band certainly grooved, in this and in Get the Money: it was great to hear both the tight ensemble work and the confident solos from within the group. They will go far. And so to the Intermediate Band. More massed ranks, and more nautical links with the theme from Hawaii Five-O (poor Mr Barlow, too young to remember the original!), coupled with another theme tune, this time from The Simpsons. It was great to hear all the various snippets of themes emerge so clearly in the Simpsons arrangement, and the playing continued the rhythmical vitality and confidence that characterised the whole evening. It was great to see Mrs Wortley join the percussion section for the last piece: Mr Allain had been sneakily joining in all evening!
Mr Plater spoke with great warmth about the commitment of the staff and students, and about the high degree of skill they showed at all levels. As well as their technical ability, everybody performed with a real sense of fun, as seen in the very full sound all the groups produced: these young musicians are not afraid to play out. It was a wonderful evening, and thanks and congratulations to all concerned.
The concert raised over £200 for the Norwich-Dedza Partnership.