Spring Concert Review

The Spring Concert took place in the Memorial Hall on the 23 of March.

All the large school ensembles performed to a full house. The evening began with the Dance Band delighting us with two upbeat numbers, Spain and the famous Channel One Suite by Buddy Rich. The Senior Choir and Choral Society then combined for a gospel piece entitled Elijah Rock. Moses Hogan, the compose, creates a wonderful sense of excitement in the eight-part texture and the choirs rose to the challenge well, warning us against temptation before building up the climax of the piece where soloists Francesca and Lottie achieved the dizzying heights of top D!

The mood calmed after this as we took to the Texas Trails with the Junior Concert Band. It was great to see strings involved in the ensemble and plans are now afoot to amalgamate ensembles to create a junior orchestra for the summer festival. This was followed by a lovely performance of Grieg’s Holberg Suite by the Chamber Orchestra. The string players conveyed the joy of the music to the audience superbly and showed great technical prowess in the challenging rushing passages of the first movement.

Show Choir then took to the stage and presented a wonderful medley of numbers from Oliver. The performance included Consider Yourself, As Long As He Needs Me, Who Will Buy and Oom Pah pah and the audience enjoyed the full choir and small group performances in this medley very much.

We returned to instrumental music with the Concert Band performing Philip Sparke’s stirring Concert Prelude. This showcased both brass and woodwind sections very effectively, showing the lovely bright sounds from the trumpets and the blended woodwind textures of the slow central section, as well as a very good bass clarinet section!

The Dauntey’s Percussion Ensemble always produces thrilling performances and this evening was no exception. Both Drums Galore and Crossfire require immense skill and co-ordination from the players as the patterns are passed around the ensemble in rapid succession. All players rose to the challenge and delivered a fantastic performance.

We ended the first half with the Orchestra performing part of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet Suite then accompanying Miranda with playing the final movement of the Bruch Violin Concerto. Miranda is hoping to study music at Oxford as a violinist and choral scholar and this was the culmination of seven years at Dauntsey’s during which time she has won both instrumental and choral awards, has lead quartets, the chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra and sung in the senior choir and female voices choir. Miranda’s performance this evening was lovely and she approached the very technically demanding sections of the piece with great skill and musicality. The orchestra enjoyed providing the accompaniment for Miranda and she continues to be an inspiration for many younger musicians coming through the ensembles.

The second half saw the Orchestra, Senior Choir and Choral Society combine to perform Faure’s Requiem. This is a beautiful piece requiring great attention to timbre and intonation. The choirs’ performance was beautiful and was enhanced by the very moving solos in the Pie Jesu from Mischa, Oliver’s performance of the Hostias solo and the Libera Me solo performed by Ben.

The final official item in the concert brought all the ensembles together for a performance of Philip Sparke’s Pastime with Good Company. This took the Tudor tune by Henry VIII and wove it into a contrapuntal texture of great complexity. Mr Irving very cleverly arranged the music to include all our string players and we added the original words for the choirs to sing. This performance showed Dauntsey’s at its best, enabling all to participate and enjoy making music as a team.

An impromptu final encore was added by popular demand. The Female Voices Choir performed the Ave Maria by Franz Biebl. They had just returned from a very successful performance as finalists in the Barnardos Choir of The Year Competition in the Festival Hall. The girls rose to the challenge of the sudden request and delivered a magical and moving performance that moved the souls of many in the audience. A truly wonderful end to a fantastic concert. Thank you to all music staff, instrumental teachers, technical support teams, the Premises and Bursarial staff and the Parents’ Association for their hard work in making this one of the best concert’s in recent history.

Gareth Harris
Director of Music

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