Throughout the Autumn Term, the Performing Arts Department has been producing more performances than ever before; it has been fantastic to see the talents of our ensembles and casts on display, as well as the excitement of welcoming live audiences back to St John’s.
The annual Concerto Competition returned on 11 November, and was adjudicated by Tim Johnson, Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College. This was the most evenly matched competition in recent years and was a sublime evening of music making with a professional orchestra. All pupils excelled, and a particular mention must go to Ella in Lower Fifth, for her triumphant performance this year.
While the regular lunchtime recital series continued with fervour throughout the term and was as popular as ever with themes including overtures, reveries, and toe tappers!
The second half of term was ignited by a fabulously vibrant version of Treasure Island from our Fourth Form and Lower Fifth pupils playing to a packed house; Delilah in Lower Fifth gave a particularly charismatic performance as Long John Silver!
Piratical mayhem then turned to some beautiful wind playing for our masterclass with professional oboist Richard Lines-Davies, swiftly followed by our annual Michaelmas Concert. The audience in the Old Chapel were treated to a marvellous evening of music including Purcell and Bach, culminating in a complete performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria, which was as enthusiastic and energetic as it was sensitive and atmospheric. Zoe, Jacob, Emilija, Esther and Dylan all sang confident and inspiring solos. Our Lower School Choir and training String Ensemble excelled and showed us that the talent moving up through the School is really promising.
And before the Performing Arts Department turn their hands to the wonderful Christmas festivities next week – with a jam-packed calendar including a brass group flash mob, the ever-popular rock concert and our annual carol services, they had time to stage two fantastic evening performances of the Comedy Double Bill from 8-9 December! With the zaniest Dracula one has ever seen, a show-stealing turn from Harry as the blood sucking Count, and committed performances of Shaffer’s Black Comedy where Will drove the motor of this farce with aplomb; each member of both casts performed with infectious relish.
The Director of Performing Arts, Ollie White, commented: ‘Watching our pupils rediscover the joy of a live and appreciative audience has been thrilling, and while the department continues to explore as varied a performance programme as possible, several more pupils are getting involved with the performing arts at St John’s. With the talent coming up through the School, the future of the performing arts looks bright, and we are all extremely proud of the hard work our pupils have put into every performance.’
The Spring Term begins with two performances of the musical Songs for a New World by Jason Robert Brown, complete with a pupil band and a cast of 25. The musical has one of the most exciting scores written in recent years, and the pupils are thoroughly enjoying their rehearsals – we cannot wait to share it with you!