Sunday, January 6, 2013

Some Highlights from Last Term

Early Evening Recitals
We took a different approach to the Early Evening Recitals last term, arranging them by Year groups rather than by instrumental sections as has often been the case in the past. The first recital on October 10 was given by the Sixth Form, with some lovely performances from the more advanced students; the second recital, on October 17 was given by some of the GCSE students in the Fourth and Fifth Form; the final recital of the term, held on 14 November, featured boys in Forms 1-3. With so many pupils learning instruments it is impossible to give them all chance to play - if your son/daughter has not taken part and you would like them to, then let us know so that we can make sure they perform next time.

St Cecilia Concert
The School’s annual celebration of St Cecilia was as big an event as ever with one of the largest audiences of the year gathering in St Paul’s, Hammersmith on Tuesday 20 November. This year’s programme included music from the Sixth Form Choir, Second Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Band, and School Choir. The First Orchestra closed the first half with a stirring rendition of Coates’ London Suite. The second half saw a fine performance of the Fauré Requiem by the Schola, accompanied in the original orchestration by the Belgravia Chamber Orchestra. Special mention must be made of the two soloists in the Fauré, Joseph Outtrim and Jack Comerford.

Verdi Requiem
11 December saw the School Choir return to St James’s, Spanish Place, surely one of the most beautiful churches in London, to perform one of the greatest of all choral works, Verdi’s monumental setting of the Requiem Mass. Joined by four wonderful soloists - including Old Vaughanian Peter Davoren and singing teacher Alex Ashworth - and with accompaniment from the superb Belgravia Chamber Orchestra, ably assisted by a number of the pupils, the choir gave a stirring performance of this wonderful work. It was particularly pleasing that so many Old Vaughanians returned to help, adding welcome strength to the chorus.

The Carol Service
We returned to St James’s Spanish Place once again in December for the Carol Service, having moved from Our Lady of Victories because of on-going building work there. Any concern we might have had that people would not attend  in the same numbers as usual were unfounded as Spanish Place was completely full with around 800 people in attendance. The Schola sang carols by Pearsall, Britten, Rutter, Darke, Edwards and Cornelius. Perhaps the most striking moment came during Benediction when the Schola sang Tavener’s extraordinary God is With Us, complete with sudden, very loud organ entry just before the end! Thank you if you attended this service, always a highlight of the School year.

Other performances
There has been no shortage of other performance opportunities this term with weekly Friday lunchtime recitals offering chances to many pupils to perform. The Big Band has been busy as always, performing at the Vaughan Foundation Ball in November - joined by two some very exciting new singers - as well as at the Senior Citizens Party in December. Thomas Fetherstonhaugh sang a major solo role in English National Opera’s Magic Flute and three boys sang in the chorus for ENO’s production of Carmen during November and December. Fifteen of our saxophonists attended a workshop at the Royal Albert Hall in October with jazz musician Yolande Brown. I could go on.......


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