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28 February 2017

Another outstanding Lent Concert

Before this year’s Taunton Music Festival had even come to an end, the Lent Concert arrived with hardly a moment’s respite. Providing an opportunity for some performers to repeat their well-prepared Festival offerings and for others to give first airings of pieces, the two-hour-plus concert highlighted the very best of King’s Hall and nearly 40 pieces were performed. Among the many excellent solos were a number of the school’s larger ensembles and also several chamber music pieces – playing music together is undoubtedly one of the greatest joys and we are fortunate to have so many enthusiastic children for whom making music together is clearly a pleasure.

The Orchestra began the concert with the famous Russian dance Trepak from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The Orchestra was on fine form and the music really zipped along to an exciting finish. Enjoyable offerings followed from the Brass Ensemble and then came Oscar Mack (Y5) on classical guitar playing a wonderfully contrasting pair of pieces: the James Bond theme followed by Malaguena. Next came Grace Eakhurst (Y4) who sang the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein number In My Own Little Corner and captivated the audience. We then had a pair of upbeat ‘cello duets from Year 5 girls Emma Duckham and Georgia Fidler before being carried away by the catchy tune of Year 4 Charlotte Ambler’s Hungarian Stomp on ‘cello. Staying with Year 4 for the moment, Ella Rowlands and Wilf Gostling respectively charmed with the song It’s a Lovely Day and then a Sailor’s Hornpipe on ukulele before Poppy Chedzoy (Y5) serenaded us with the elegant Alpine Waltz on harp.

JJ Dayus-Jones (Y4) performed Kabalevsky’s bouncy Toccatino on piano and we then had two vocal duets: Raffaella Cook (Y5) and Georgia Fidler performed the sweet and lilting Clear and Cool and then Magnus Larsen (Y6) and Daisy Kamsner (Y6) gave us the quirky and beguiling Lazy Man’s Song. Wilfie Rice (Y6) was the second pianist of the night and he got toes tapping with Just Struttin’ Along and then Isabelle Mantyk-House (Y5) sang a characterful Popular from Wicked. Thomas Herbert (Y6) played a rousing version of Nessun Dorma on the French Horn and this was followed by Hettie Chippendale (Y6) and Annabel Wright (Y6) playing Brahms’ beautiful Wiegenlied – Lullaby – in a fetching violin and ‘cello duet arrangement. The first half was sent off in dramatic style as the King’s String Quartet played an impressive Tango by Michael McLean.

In good operatic fashion, the second half began with an overture – the Pyrland String Quartet raced off with a stirring rendition of Rossini’s famous William Tell overture. This was then followed by three Year 8 flautists – Kezia Ogle, Isabe lAmbler and Olivia Boyd were Sullivan’s Three Little Maids from School. Georgina Ambler (Y6) gave us an exhilarating performance of a Clementi Sonatina on piano and we then had two woodwind solos: Emily Ogle (Y6) on clarinet played the catchy Lotus Talk after which Beckie Stacey (Y7) on flute gave us Gershwin’s I Got Plenty o’ Nothin’. Two pieces of Mozart followed with Isabel Ambler (Y8) singing L’ho perduta from The Marriage of Figaro and then Julia Louw (Y7) giving us the Menuetto and Trio from Symphony No. 40 on violin.

Anastasia Woodard (Y8) impressed with her Trumpet Tune and Arjun Ashok (Y7) gave us a dramatic Polonais by Weber on violin. Louis Benneyworth (Y8) on oboe performed the reflective Nocturne by Wiggins and then Matthew Osborne (Y8) performed Rutland Water by Bennett. Alice Herbert (Y8) gave us two short pieces on bassoon – Ragamuffin and Sludge Pump - after which Robbie McSwiggan (Y8) got toes tapping once more with the jazzy Stick Together. The two final soloists were Year 8 Joshua Butts on trumpet and Hannah Johnston on violin. Joshua performed Tchaikovsky’s Chanson Napolitaine and Hannah played the Allegro from Mozart’s Sonata in e minor. The evening was rounded off by the Senior Choir performing Rutter’s serene A Gaelic Blessing in three parts followed by the lively Gonna Build a Mountain by Leslie Bricusse.

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