Lower School Concert
On a sweltering Tuesday in late June, over 50 pupils prepared to play in the termly Lower School Concert- in this case, the last of the year. The evening was to be a showcase of the wonders of the music teachers at this school, in 10 ensembles and 4 sensational solos. Almost all of the performers (amazingly it seemed, when the Great Hall began to fill with music and harmonies) were indeed in the Lower School.
First up, as is always customary, were Second Orchestra, playing their customary film score- this time Klaus Badelt’s score to the first Pirates of the Caribbean film. This exciting, long and familiar piece lifted the whole concert, and set a high benchmark for Saxophone Group to come, with all the different instruments chiming in with their parts- a true orchestral work.
Next, Saxophone Group played “Watch Your Step” by Buckland. This was original and different, and it is always lovely to see these small ensembles and hear lesser-known instruments in their own right in an ensemble.
After came the relative might of the Second CLS Brass, playing two pieces on their dazzlingly shiny brass instruments- two contrasting, instantly recognisable pieces- Happy, and the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. This again was exciting and provided a great atmosphere.
Subsequently, four solos came- two on the drum kit, one spell-binding performance by Hugo, singing and playing the piano as the hall filled with the lovely sound of Queen, before James played a beautiful solo on the flute. Following that, the ensembles returned in full force with the unusual but effective sound of ukuleles playing two songs by The Kooks and Queen. This interesting ensemble got everyone rocking in their chairs. They continued to rock… when Junior String Orchestra came on to play the rhythmic, harmonious Mozart masterwork, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. All three movements played of this were spell-bounding in their own way- whether graceful, light, or forceful and loud.
Clarinet Group resumed Ukulele Orchestra’s swinging beat with Scott Joplin’s Easy Winners. Again, this was an excellent opportunity to see clarinets up close- from regular ones to the largest of bass clarinets. Flute Ensemble then, though not exactly keeping everyone rocking, delighted everyone over 60 years old with memories of Mary Poppins with their Mary Poppins medley, and everyone under 60 years old too with the memory of that classic schoolboy trivia- the longest word- supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (of course!) and with memories of Mary Poppins Returns. Folk Group then swept us to the hilly mountain of Romania and Czechia with folk tunes hailing from those regions, an interesting insight into other cultures. Then, of course, was the turn of jazz. Small Band- you guessed it! a small ensemble- got us ready and warmed up for what was to come with some great improvisation, before Swing Band, in full force and attendance, ramped it all up and kicked it all off with two swinging tunes- Pennsylvania 6-5000 and Toto’s Africa. They made a ridiculously exciting end to an equally exciting concert.
Thank you for all the teachers who have donated all their time to rehearse and perform, and all the music staff who supported and made this happen.