Wednesday 23 March saw Kingsley girls once again displaying their musical talents in the annual Easter Concert.
The evening began with a spirited performance of the theme from Mission: Impossible by the Clarinet and Saxophone ensemble under the direction of Mrs Murphy. This set the tone wonderfully with crisp articulation and huge dynamic variation. The girls had clearly worked hard to capture the essence of the music.
There were two guitar ensembles on show during the evening and the Junior group were the first to perform. Their renditions of Farruca and Pica Pica showed all the hallmarks of class, precision and sensitivity that we have come to expect from groups under the watchful eye of Mrs Knott.
Mrs Misson has been working with the school’s flautists on a variety of ensemble repertoire and three girls from Year 9 presented a lovely arrangement of the theme from Titanic. Luckily they managed to stay afloat and were very warmly greeted by the capacity audience.
The Junior School always plays a big part in the musical life of the school, and the next section of the evening was given over to the work they have been doing this term. As a proud Welshman Mr Smith was delighted to hear the Junior String Club play Land of My Fathers and the Welsh rugby team could certainly take some lessons in discipline and hard work from these girls. They followed this with a foot tapping Pirate’s Waltz.
Recorders are an unfairly maligned instrument and the Recorder Ensemble showed us what a beautiful sound they can make with a haunting arrangement of the famous Skye Boat Song. The control and musicality was admirable in a group with such a young average age. Another group showing this same kind of poise was the first of two Junior String Quartets, performing a Minuet and Trio by Beethoven.
Wallace and Gromitt is a perennial favourite and perhaps the Junior Wind Band were thinking about the Bank Holiday TV schedule when they decided to include the theme in their programme. They played very well and are showing tremendous promise. This was followed by the Junior Orchestra performing Themes from Jupiter by Gustav Holst to round off the first half.
The audience were beckoned back in for the second half by the sound of Singing Club warming up. This group always steals the show and their performance on the night was no exception. Their rendition of Pop Idol had the audience cheering and was beautifully done.
The second Junior String Quartet of the evening performed a vigorous rendition of a French Folk Tune arranged by Sheila Nelson, one of many fantastic additions to the repertoire that she has made.
The Senior Guitar Ensemble again showed the quality of guitar playing in the school with a beautiful performance of Greensleeves. This style of music suits this ensemble perfectly and they played with real sensitivity and flair. They also showed that they are adept at more modern music, with a performance of the world’s most recorded song, Yesterday by Lennon and McCartney.
Junior Choir is going from strength to strength and their performance of Mike Batt’s Bright Eyes showed how well these girls can respond to a good starting point. The balance was good and they showed real conviction.
After big scene changes the stage was set for one of the largest pieces of the programme, both in terms of the number of performers and the depth of the music. Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves is taken from his rarely perfomed 1929 opera Sir John in Love, a work based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. The main theme is familiar to all (notably as it had already been performed by the guitar ensemble) but Vaughan Williams’ sumptuous orchestration breathes a whole new life into it. The piece also includes a version of the folk song Lovely Joan. Flautists Sofia Fernandes and Alice Stevenson made notable contributions, along with a beautifully measured cello solo from Lucy French. The orchestra was led by Isobel Williams under the direction of Mrs Walton.
For many years brass instruments have been seen as a solely male preserve, but women brass players are now being seen in principal positions with many of Britain’s top orchestras. The newly formed Brass Ensemble are all aspiring to these heights and were delighted to be making their first public appearance. The group, consisting of trumpets and trombones, played two of Adrian Taylor’s fantastic arrangements of music by Tylman Susato. La Mourisque and Pavane Bataille require good dynamic control and a wide range of articulations if they are to be successful and the girls carried the works with great aplomb.
The Chamber Ensemble has been working hard to prepare the music for next term’s performances of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and this was the perfect opportunity to present a suite consisting of some of the instrumental music from this seminal work. The group performed four extremely difficult dances from the opera, showing a real understanding of Baroque performance practice and style. We hope that you will be able to join us on 5 and 6 May for what promises to be two great evenings of music.
It was left to the Choir to end the concert with a gospel tinged performance of Duffy’s Mercy. Sung entirely from memory this piece showed just how hard this group has worked to attain the standard they are at. The group left the stage with the cheers of the audience ringing in their ears.
The evening encapsulated everything that is good about not just the Music department, but about Kingsley as a whole. There was a huge diversity of repertoire on display, along with a whole range of abilities, but at the heart of it was the kind of quality and attention to detail that Kingsley girls show day in day out.