23 March 2017

Our 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 Gospel Choir opened the concert with a most moving performance of Feeling Good, demonstrating how far the choir has developed since it was formed three years ago. It was particularly good to see the boys able to explore the more Bluesy style in a number of solos from James MacLennan and Owen Ravden, to name but two. The setting was challenging but the Gospel Choir delivered an exciting performance under the enthusiastic and accomplished direction of history teacher, Helen Wenham.

Andrew Yeats moved from being Abingdon's peripatetic singing teacher to cover John Cotton's role temporarily this academic year, and the Chapel Choir and Joint Chamber Choirs showed how seamlessly Andrew has taken on the role of director of these key choirs.

The Chapel Choir's first item was Burgon's 'Nunc Dimittis', with Oliver Glover providing the oboe solo, which blended beautifully with the choir and organ. The audience was then treated to Dyson's 'Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis', with wonderful bass parts ably performed by members of the Upper Sixth, including Cameron Thomson and Edmund Breen.

With the arrival of the students from St Helen & St Katharine to join the Chapel Choir, the choirs performed Britten's 'Jubilate Deo' and Stainer's 'God So Lived the World'. The addition of the St Helen’s voices added a different dimension to the sound of the Chapel Choir, but, under Andrew Yeat's energetic direction, both pieces were performed with a fine balance of sound.

St Helen’s then joined the senior singers from Abingdon, to form the Joint Chamber Choir. Performing Bainton's 'And I Saw a New Heaven', followed by Britten's 'His Piety and Marvellous Works' from St Nicholas. The joint choir sang with beauty and clarity, demonstrating the high standard of this elite ensemble.

At the end of the concert we thanked the pupils and their directors for a wonderful 45 minutes of choral singing. Our distinguished temporary choral director, Andrew Yeats, has done a marvellous job this year – we are most grateful for his skill and patience and delighted that he continues to be the schools singing teacher, combining this, as he does, with his work as a Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral.

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