How quickly the year has spun around again to our school’s annual concert at St. John’s Smith Square, one of the prettiest concert venues in London.
Our school places music right at the heart of its whole being and consequently attracts many musical children, often children of top level musicians. This concert annually confirms to me how right we were to choose this school for our own musical offspring: that would provide such fantastic musical opportunities for those who care to take them.
MsDD had a more muted role in the musical ensembles this year, judged as she was at last year’s audition in the middle of a particularly traumatic period of her dizzy spells. It hasn’t been a great year for her as a soloist, all in all, but perhaps she’ll come to the fore again next year.
She stepped back from many of the formal ensembles this year but became subsumed by first the sixth form production of Anything Goes, for which she was in the house band, and now the lower school Oliver Twist production, for which she has written all of the music and coached the singers. I’m glad she has these opportunities, of course, but they have come at a price: most notably the sacrifice of a top grade mark in her Grade 8 clarinet but also the chance to have the time to put thought and effort into her homework rather than constantly being in a rush to hand her work in on time because of her heavy co-curricular commitments.
MsDD has promised us that next year will be different and she’ll take a step back but she’s been asked to double up. as tenor sax and clarinet in next year’s Jazz Band (the first ensemble above) but next year is her GCSE year and she’s going to have to make some hard choices.
Tonight’s concert comprised two sixth form soloists playing the Elgar Cello concerto and – swoon- Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto. Both soloists were fantastic but I would have sacrificed one or two of the Elgar movements to hear the sublime second movement of the Rach, in my view one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.
The chamber choir sang some Stanford motets incredibly beautifully and the Sax ensemble, one of the things that MsDD has had to decline this year, played some really interesting Venetian Renaissance music, profiting from the galleried structure of St. John’s.I hugely enjoyed the Chamber Orchestra’s rendition of Grieg’s Holberg Suite too.
All in all a fabulously entertaining evening and a triumph for pupils and music staff alike, especially our new young music director who manages to be serious and cool at the same time.