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Licence to Trill

On Wednesday 6 March our musicians presented a thrilling evening of music from the ‘James Bond’ film series to a packed-out Old Chapel. 

The pupils were resplendent in black tie and an array of wonderful dresses, the catering department had produced classy mocktails and a vintage Aston Martin had made the journey from Plymouth to be parked outside; the scene was set for a very special evening.  

Following a short film produced by members of the Music and Drama Departments, the Brass Group started the evening with a virtuosic performance of The World is Not Enough, followed by Toby and Robert performing Thunderball in a fantastic acoustic arrangement. The String Quartet were in unfamiliar territory playing an arrangement of You Only Live Twice, but rose to the occasion with a stirring (not shaken) performance.  

One of the most exciting aspects of the evening was the inclusion of pupils from across the year groups and our Lower School Choir demonstrated that the future of music at St John’s is bright, with an uplifting performance of The Writing on the Wall including solos from Henry and Emilia. Alasdair demonstrated a real control of tone and musical phrase in his performance of Moonraker on the ‘Cello, before the Senior Rock Ensemble, joined by Toby, raised the roof with View to Kill and The Living Daylights. The next soloist to perform was Poppy (recently crowned with Toby as the joint-winner of the Forbes competition advanced vocal category) with All Time High; the audience were captivated throughout by this stunning performance.  

Another ensemble outside of their comfort zone was the Schola Cantorum performing an arrangement of Skyfall. However, the Schola demonstrated their musical versatility and produced a committed and exciting sound. The Swing Band, joined by fiercely talented singer Tajah from Lower Third, treated us to a toe-tapping rendition of Licence to Kill before the Sinfonia produced a particularly rousing performance of a James Bond Medley.  

Rowena Cole, The Head, commented: “What a triumph! Not only did our pupils prove they have a licence to ‘trill’ but they have a licence to thrill! I loved our 007 themed night - I am very proud of all involved!”