Pupils Take Centre Stage for Week of Music Events | King's Hall School Taunton

Pupils Take Centre Stage for Week of Music Events

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Not long after this year’s Taunton Festival had come to an end, our Lent Concert arrived with hardly a moment to regroup!

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 concert featuring roughly 60 children highlighted the very best of King’s Hall and nearly 40 pieces were performed. Among the many excellent solos and duets were the Junior Strings, Brass Group, Woodwind Group, Orchestra and Senior Choir. The evening was enjoyed enormously by a supportive, packed audience and everyone involved should be congratulated on their terrific contributions.

The concert began with a fanfare, but from the Junior Strings rather than brass! Mabel Rice (Y3) followed with a characterful rendition of the song Singing in the Bath and Archie Edwards (Y5) impressed with his trumpet solo, Men of Harlech. Joining Archie on stage came the rest of the excitingly-large Brass Group and they performed the classic Prince of Denmark’s March by Jeremiah Clarke. A first performance from a newer ensemble came next – the Woodwind Group has changed personnel recently and, in its new form, sounded excellent with a lovely rendition of the folk song The Ash Grove.

Our first pianist of the evening was Teddy Ambler (Y3) with the contemplative The Enchanted Garden and he was followed by Leigha Gunning-Wright (Y6) on violin with the lively Ecossaise by Beethoven. Another violinist, Emmanuella Folorunso (Y5), followed with the catchy Fast Forward and toes continued to tap with Annie Dayus-Jones (Y4) playing In the Pocket on saxophone. Sylvie Rice (Y5) took the upper part in two piano duets: firstly, the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker and then the beautiful Russian folksong In the Meadow Stood a Little Birch Tree. Staying with piano, Emily Ogle (Y8) impressed the audience with the serene Sarah by Peter-Horas.

Charlotte Mathew was the first of a trio of Year 6s playing Hasse’s Bourrée on the trumpet. Eleanor Harding then performed two short contrasting pieces on piano – Persian Holiday and Ballerina – and Isabel Noble followed with a spirited rendition of Kabalevsky’s Clowns. We were then treated to two vocalists from Year 5 who performed a solo song each and then joined in a duet. First, Grace Gompels captivated the audience with the lovely Alone in the Universe from Seussical and then Sophie Greswell gave us the atmospheric Jenkyn’s classic The Owls. Together they sang the melodious duet We’re the Future of Tomorrow by Simms. Charlotte Ambler (Y6) then performed the tango La Cumparsita on ‘cello and she was followed by Poppy Chedzoy (Y7) with the Eriskay Love-Lilt on harp. Cornelius Workman (Y5) closed the first half with the rousing Pastime with Good Company.

The Orchestra (minus a few players through illness) opened the second half with the main themes from Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1 and 4. We were then treated to some electric guitar as Oscar Mack (Y7) impressed us with Jack White’s Sixteen Saltines. In contrast, JJ Dayus-Jones (Y6) followed with something baroque – Vivaldi’s Allegro from Sonata No.5 on ‘cello. Carrying on the baroque style, Monty Lindsay Smith (Y6) played Hasse’s Bourrée before two other brass players, Charlotte Ambler and Charlotte Mathew, took the mantle with french horn and trumpet respectively in Bassey’s Mirliton Tango. Magnus Larsen (Y8) followed with the Siciliana from Cimarosa’s Oboe Concerto. Another trio of Year 6s saw Ella Rowlands singing the poignant My House from Matilda, Grace Eakhurst singing Good Morning Baltimore from Hairspray, and Charlotte Ambler performing her own piano composition, Spanish Serenade.

A quintet of Year 8s provided the final items for the concert, beginning with Hettie Chippendale on violin playing the Champagne Aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Thomas Herbert played Saint-Saens' beautiful The Swan on French horn and Wilfie Rice performed Anthem from Chess on piano. Darwin Lo continued on piano with the elegant Valse Lente by Merikanto and Alice Eakhurst completed the solo line-up with a stirring Sea Shanty on bassoon. The Senior Choir provided the final two pieces in the concert – a setting of the text I Would Be True to the tune Londonderry Air, followed by the bouncy number Side by Side – an uplifting end to a wonderful feast of music!

Earlier this month, thirteen pupils also took part in the Prep Schools Mighty Orchestra event at Wellington School. Alongside Wellington, St Peters Lympstone and Exeter Cathedral School, the total number of performers reached nearly 130, meaning there was barely room for the players let alone an audience.

Throughout the day, the children worked on four pieces: Michael Giacchino’s Star Trek theme, In a Persian Market by Ketèlbey, an arrangement of Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful, and the spectacular Sabre Dance by Khachaturian.

The day comprised a morning of rehearsing in smaller groups, led by an expert tutor, and then a run-through with the whole group. This was followed by a swift lunch before further sectional and group rehearsals. To conclude the event, a performance of the four pieces was put on for parents and guests; the atmosphere of which was electric.

Director of Music at King’s Hall, Gareth Dayus-Jones said: “The quality of music-making was spectacular, especially given the difficulty of the music and the short rehearsal period. Everyone who took part in the day enjoyed it thoroughly and we are most grateful to Wellington School for arranging and hosting us.”

Published on: Friday, February 15, 2019

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