2 July 2018
Our Summer Concert presented us with this academic year’s final coming together of Abingdon’s musicians, and an opportunity to celebrate and thank many of our musical leavers. Several overseas pupils had already left us to fly home or to start post-examination work experience, but there were plenty who could participate in our orchestras, bands and in Gospel Choir.
The first half started with the Gospel Choir and was directed with her typical skill and enthusiasm by Mrs Helen Wenham in Stand by Me, preceded by Sixteen Tons. Next came a trio of bands directed by Andy Townsend. Brass Band played a renaissance Galliarde by Claude Gervaise, followed by Ron Goodwin’s Aces High, from the film, Battle of Britain. Symphonic Wind Band turned to New York for Broadway Showstoppers Overture, whilst Big Band played Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man, Mancini’s Peter Gunn and the Latin number, Oye Come Va. Abingdon’s Bandmaster, Mr Currie, the regular leader of our Big Band, was engaged elsewhere, but Andy Townsend took over seamlessly.
After the interval we heard the three orchestras – first Chamber Orchestra, directed by Head of Strings, Mariette Pringle, in Vivaldi’s Concerto for four violins. Next, Second Orchestra, led by Andreas Lo and Dashiell Hathaway, played music by Woodhouse, Wagner, Mozart and Hurwitz. The first item, Rustic Dance, was directed by lower sixth former, Mohsen Ansari, in his conducting debut.
We concluded with First Orchestra accompanying two soloists from our cohort of Leavers. Reuben Havelock played Mozart’s Rondo Finale from his 3rd Horn concerto and Robert MacLennan (xylophone), a special solo arrangement of Rossini’s Overture to William Tell. After words of farewell and thanks to our leavers, including Assistant Director of Music, John Cotton, we concluded with Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slave and Hurwitz’ Highlights from the film, La La Land.
For several days Abingdon had been basking in beautifully warm summer weather and the concert was preceded by a reception hosted by the Headmaster. This was a lovely way to conclude our musical year. At about the same time in 2019 we will be setting out on our orchestral tour to Japan and Hong Kong for which the levels of excitement are rising!