St John's School Michaelmas Concert took place on Thursday 29 November and was themed around the music of Ralph Vaughan Williams and composers associated with the Royal College of Music in London, where Vaughan Williams was a professor of composition.
The concert began with our wonderful Sinfonia performing an extract from The Yeomen of the Guard by Sir Arthur Sullivan; the triumphant march set the evening off with a bang! The Sinfonia performed three more items throughout the evening; of particular note was the Fantasia on ‘Greensleeves’ which featured the talented Robert playing a soaring solo on the Flute and Poppy accompanying beautifully on the Harp. Following an introduction by Mr White the Clarinet ensemble performed the beautiful Six Studies in English Folk Song by Vaughan Williams with each member of the ensemble playing a solo movement with poise and elegance. Our Schola Cantorum then followed with another arrangement of an unaccompanied folk song by Vaughan Williams, Linden Lea, before presenting the melodious To Music by George Dyson; both pieces demonstrated the Schola’s ability to produce a mature and homogenous choral sound. The Swing Band offered an uplifting, euphoric and oscillating contrast of style with two pieces arranged by Jerry Nowak; the pupils played with tremendous energy and left the audience tapping their feet! The Brass ensemble produced a dignified performance of Sullivan’s The Lost Chord and our String Quartet treated us to an animated rendition of the first movement from Shostakovich’s String Quartet No.6. It was great to welcome the Lower School Choir for their first performance of the year. Their performance of The Salley Gardens was beautifully sung with commitment and poise; not a dry eye in the house.
The solo items performed by pupils included the Barcarolle from Three Lyrics for Violin performed with an exquisite sense of lyricism, a fantastic performance of Silent Noon, a rousing rendition of It was a lover and his lass, with further performances from pupils including Herbert Howells’ King David delivered with gravitas, Orpheus and his Lute sung delicately and a dextrous performance of The Nightmare Song.
The concert was a marvellous way to celebrate and showcase the hard-work, dedication and talent of our pupils.