22 November 2021

Our annual JCS concert with the School of St Helen and St Katharine was directed this year by Miss Helen Coad, the Assistant Director of Music at St Helen’s. She chose to do a concert performance of the operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, with words by W S Gilbert and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. Premiered in New York in 1879, this is something of a Victorian period piece, with a clever and witty libretto and unforgettable music.

The operetta gives great scope for vocal solos from a quartet of female roles and a quintet of male ones, characters who sing both solos and in various ensemble combinations, as well as memorable choruses for the students of both schools.

The pirate soloists included Edward Bennett (Samuel), Jamie Robson (The Pirate King) and Aidan Chan (a pirate apprentice). Major-General Stanley was sung by Oscar Bennett, whilst The Sergeant of Police was sung at short notice by Mr Adam Treadaway in the absence of Sammy Jarvis who, frustratingly for him, was indisposed just the day before.

The three daughters of Major-General were sung by Alice Thorley (Edith), Eleanor Cabell (Kate) and Emily Bowen (Mabel). Ruth, a pirate maid, was sung by Amelia Hughes. The quality of all these soloists was outstanding.

The chorus fulfils the roles of both soldiers, pirates and the police and there are some classic and unforgettable numbers, such as the Major-General’s solo and chorus, “He is the very model of a modern Major-General” and the policeman’s solo and chorus, “When constabulary duty’s to be done, to be done, A policeman’s lot is not a happy one, happy one”.

Our first foray into joint choral activity since the first lockdown in March 2020, it was wonderful to see the pupils back on stage and performing live once more for the enjoyment of parents and staff. Congratulations to all involved.

Parents are able to watch a recording made of the performance of Pirates of Penzance here.

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