22 March 2018
This year’s Annual Choral Concert gave a large audience of parents and friends a chance to hear all the senior choirs in one place and to give full acknowledgement of the wonderful work that is being achieved in choral singing by pupils and their directors.
The Chapel Choir, under John Cotton’s direction, opened the concert with Dyson’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in F, followed by Purcell’s wonderful Bell Anthem, a performance made possible by the presence of some distinguished soloists in the ranks, including Jamie Robson (alto), Reuben Havelock (tenor), Greg Davies (Bass) and Brooklyn Han (Bass).
Next we heard the Gospel Choir directed by Helen Wenham in Freddie Mercury’s Somebody to Love. This was a challenging piece to tackle, but it came off really well, with some great performances by several soloists at the microphone – Henry Muller, Henry Steinsberg, Theo Brown and Alfred Morley. Now four years since its formation, it is wonderful to see the choir flourishing under Mrs Wenham’s leadership.
The Abingdon Academicals were next with three King’s Singers arrangements of James Taylor’s That Lonesome Road and two by Billy Joel, And so it Goes and Lullabye. Finally we heard Benjamin Rogers’ Hymnus Eucharisticus. We learned that Rogers was the organist at Magdalen College.
The Joint Chamber Choir sang two pieces by Rutter from his Birthday Madrigals; It was a Lover and his Lass and My True Love Hath my Heart. These were jazzy up-beat arrangements that were most effective.
The final item was a performance of much of Pergolesi’s expressive Stabat Mater for two soloists, a treble and an alto. This was a vehicle for our two stars, recently recruited as Head Choristers from new College Choir. Oscar Bennett and Jamie Robson accompanied by Mr Fletcher-Campbell, who sang most beautifully.
At the end of the concert we thanked the pupils and their directors for a wonderful 60 minutes of choral singing. We are particularly grateful to Mr Cotton, who has done so much to raise the profile and the standard of much of our singing at Abingdon School over the last seven years.