Lower School Gala Concert

21 June 2017

This year we were again treated to a wonderful display of the musical talent in our Lower School in a programme of music of the utmost variety. It was a lovely, balmy summer’s evening, well attended by parents, as all 120 boys were performing. Dr Preece devised the programme for this year’s event, which combined a mixture of solos, chamber groups and, large ensembles many of which are rehearsed on a regular basis in school.

Whilst we have known for well over a year that the Second Year has a good number of immensely strong musicians, I don’t think anyone was quite prepared for the wealth and breadth and sheer quality of talent that was revealed by our First Year. Oliver Northwood provided a beautiful rendition of a Song Without Words (Mendelssohn) whilst Oliver Glover played Vivaldi’s Cello Sonata in E minor, and Romance (Macpherson) on the Oboe with much flair. There were also a number of polished performances from Stefano Rajasundaram on the piano (The Day Has Ended, Rakov), and guitar (Amontillado, Cottam), and a range of violinists including Oliver Smith, Rory Kind, Noah Keighley, Louis Trotter and Jonathan Pannett-Smith. We also heard performances from a number of accomplished brass players in 1st year: Felix Kind, Archie Wood, Max Siriwardene, and Robin Hambidge all provided fantastic performances.

The Second Years outdid themselves yet again this year. Luc Tucker’s performance of Shepherd’s Hey on the bassoon was of a very high standard and his medley from the Disney Pixar film Up! Caleb Maijeh’s performance of ‘Largo’ from Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ was mesmerising and Alfred Morley provided an exciting performance of ‘Samba Time’ (Francis) on the drums. Harry Watkins gave us an insight into the workings of the music technology suite with his live-sequenced performance of his own composition Sunshine.

A variety of ensembles performed tonight: the show began with a jolly rendition of a medley of tunes from Harry Potter, Pick a Pocket or Two from Oliver and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, given by Junior Strings under the direction of Mariette Pringle. The Lower School String Quartet gave a steady performance of the March from Handel’s Flavius. Popular styles were represented by the Junior Blues Group, directed by Paul Owen who provided an exciting medley of rock tunes, including ‘Smoke on the Water’ and their ‘Big Blues Bash’. The Lower School Choir ended the concert with lively performances of Let it Be and Hey Jude by The Beatles, under the direction of Jason Preece and Andrew Yeats. It was lovely to see the Lower School singing enthusiastically and with a secure tone. Alfred Morley stepped in to accompany the choir with a solid drum beat.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable evening with a number of incredible performances. Our thanks go to all involved - the teachers, the boys and to parents and family friends, who generously contributed to the retiring collection for Medicin Sans Frontieres, WWF and Dementia Oxfordshire.

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