Sunday, December 1, 2013

Events over the past few weeks

The past few weeks since half-term have been very busy in the Music Department. As well as the classroom lessons taking place each day and the constant flow of instrumental and singing lessons and rehearsals there have been a number of concerts and services.

On the first day back after half-term some of the Schola appeared at a packed Royal Festival Hall (pictured below) singing for a concert in aid of the Homeless Charity, The Passage. The event raised £130,000 for this very worthwhile cause.

Three boys have been busy all this month appearing in The Magic Flute at English National Opera in the new production by Simon McBurney. They have drawn much attention in the national press reviews, not least for their extraordinary costume and makeup!

A Piano Recital on 13 November offered the opportunity for some of our keyboard students to perform. 

Friday 15 November and Saturday 16 November were two of the busiest days the Department has probably ever known! First thing Friday the Schola sang the Duruflé Requiem at the annual Remembrance Mass. That same morning the choir then was filmed singing a Christmas Carol composed by one of the boys for the Financial Times Christmas Magazine. Further details to follow. 

Later that Friday the Schola traveled to Ealing Abbey where, alongside Ealing Abbey Choir, the choir gave a concert of Marian Music and the Duruflé Requiem. This was a wonderful occasion and we were very pleased to be invited to perform in this wonderful abbey and alongside their excellent choir. The photo below was taken during the rehearsal and shows Christopher Eastwood, Director of Music at Ealing Abbey, working with the choirs. 

The following day the Schola traveled to Douai Abbey to give a concert in aid of Help for Children, a concert that works with young people all around the world. This concert was given in return for the Abbey allowing the Schola to record the new CD there in June this year. The programme included the Duruflé again plus a programe of English music by Byrd, Britten, Tallis, Walton and Elgar. As an encore the choir sang Mother of God, Here We Stand by John Tavener who had passed away earlier that week. It was a moving and memorable occasion with some very fine singing from the choir. The picture below shows the trebles gathering to sing the concert.

The Saturday work was not finished though as back in London the Big Band were gathering to perform at the Vaughan's Foundation Dinner. Some of us rushed back to town to perform there, finishing at just after Midnight!

The following week sat the School's annual Concert in Honour of St Cecilia. As always, this drew a very large audience to St Paul's Church, Hammersmith for a varied programme of music. Around 175 pupils took part in the concert which included music by Haydn, Mozart, Copland, Sparkes, Chilcott and Schubert. A highlight was the performance of the G Major Violin Concerto by Thomas Fetherstonhaugh in the Fifth Form. Also very fine was the performance by Senior Strings of the first movement of Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings. 

 The following day, Friday 22 November, was the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten's birth and to mark the occasion the entire First Form, joined by two local primary Schools, St Mary's and Larmenier and Sacred Heart from Brook Green, performed the composer's Friday Afternoon Songs, as part of a worldwide celebration that saw more than 100,000 children doing the same thing. 

The weekend of 23 November saw the Schola begin its annual ritual of singing Carols at the Dorchester Hotel. Late on the Sunday evening one boy also sang for a recording session at Air Studios, singing music by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe. 

Speech Day on 28 November saw the Chamber Orchestra perform Handel's The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and Schola sing Britten's A Hymn of St Columba. On Saturday 30 November the Schola returned to Westminster Cathedral for the final time this year, singing music by Byrd and Palestrina. 

Quite a busy few weeks!! Now, what's next......?


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