Musicians’ work showcased at Spring Concert

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By Ho Keung, 6.1

The Spring Concert last Wednesday (13 March) showcased all the hard work from musicians across the school. The concert started with the Concert Band playing Poet and Peasant Overture by Franz Von Suppé. All the musicians enjoyed the unique and fun ensemble experience.

Our newly established Woodwind Ensemble presented the audience with a rather cheeky piece of music by Debussy – his famous Cake Walk. The Percussion Ensemble once again performed a high standard of music. This year we have three amazing new musicians in the Percussion Ensemble, who played Autumn by Vivaldi and Mission: Impossible by Lalo Schifrin, arranged by our percussion teacher, Simon Whittaker-Wade.

The Orchestra also amazed the audience with Dance Bacchanal from the Opera Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saens, as well as the theme tune from Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore. They are both technical, demanding pieces and the orchestra performed them really well.

After all the instrumental works, we had the Chamber Choir singing Miserere by Allegri. The highlight of the piece came when our soprano singer, Annia Grey, sang the famous ‘Top C’ note in her solo. Next, the school choir sang the Mass No. 2 in G by Schubert. Two singers who touched the heart of the audience are Isabella Doyle and Cassius Kay through their duet and solo.

Finally, the Jazz Band marked the end of the concert with three pieces, and Aidan Hall once again turned himself into Michael Bublé and sang Feeling Good. The Jazz Band, as usual, played to the highest standard and really entertained the audience.

Thank you to Doug Mcilwraith and Giacomo Pozzuto for their hard work on the concert, as well as Neil Hornby, who helped to run the concert, and the visiting music staff, who rehearsed with the musicians. We are so grateful to have some really talented staff – including Jo, Julia, Martin, Lucy and Clare – who joined us to take part in the course. And of course, thank you to Cathy Knowles, the Music School Administrator, for all her support to the Music Department every day.

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Bedales Rock Show raises over £6k for the John Badley Foundation

By Neil Hornsby, Head of Contemporary Music

Twelve months ago, after the congratulations had died down following a hugely successful Bedales Rock Show 2018, the most common phrases I heard included “What are you going to do next year, with so many amazing 6.2s leaving?” and “The Rock Show will never be the same again”!

True, 20 of last year’s 30 songs were sung by 6.2s, and after hearing these comments so frequently, I started to feel a little worried myself. However, I was aware that a backbone of very promising talent remained at Bedales, so we set out on the herculean journey towards the Rock Show 2019.

I challenged Block 4 students to play like sixth formers, sixth formers to perform like professionals and we all worked harder than ever before to see if we could come close to matching our 2018 effort. After a relaxing half term break, I still can’t believe how spectacularly our amazing group of students pulled off such a successful show.

Everyone performed brilliantly and it was fantastic to see so many young musicians rising to the challenge. Over the three nights, the Rock Show also raised £6,192 for the John Badley Foundation, which offers financial support through bursaries, giving young people a chance to benefit from the transformational opportunity a Bedales education can provide.

Interestingly, no one this time has asked me “What at are you going to do next year?” As it looks like we’re now set for several years to come!

See more photos from the Rock Show 2019 here.

Baroque Recital & Music Scholars’ Concert – review

By Sampson Keung, 6.1 Music Scholar

The Baroque Recital (17 January) was a great opportunity for Bedales musicians to learn about music from 1600-1750. I really enjoyed how extraordinary the musicians were in the concert. Sara Timossi, who teaches violin at Bedales, showed some really amazing baroque violin skills in the concert, alongside an award-winning cellist, harpsichordist and theorbo player, which we’d never experienced before.

This is also the first time that we saw a theorbo, a Baroque string instrument, which we learned about in a fascinating workshop that preceded the concert. Some Bedales musicians even had the chance to play with the professional baroque players, which was a fantastic opportunity and strengthened our playing skills.

The following week, the Music Scholars’ Concert (23 January) gave our wonderful music scholars a chance to showcase their hard work over the last term. Music in the evening including Chopin, Mozart, Boyce and Beethoven, with keyboard, string, brass and voice. We were grateful to see so many talented musicians from Block 3 right up to 6.2, and they played to a very high standard.

Thank you to Doug and Giacomo for all their help and piano accompaniment.

 

Cecilia Concert raises £1.5k for John Badley Foundation

By Giacomo Pozzuto, Music Teacher

As the audience enjoyed a final encore of Goodnight Sweetheart from the particularly fine Chamber Choir last month, we had a chance to reflect on the successes of the school musicians this term.

A gargantuan effort was required by all of them to produce such a wealth of variety and sheer polish for this year’s concert, to honour the patron saint of music, St. Cecilia, and in aid of the John Badley Foundation. The music community at Bedales are thankful for their time, effort and expertise.

The evening’s entertainment began with Concert Band thumping, albeit with extreme sensitivity, through Dave Gorham’s wild-west-bareback-riding Compton Ridge Overture. It was a particularly strong performance from our brass and percussion, who in turn showed their own turn in smaller ensembles throughout the evening. The percussion ensemble took us to Hawaii via The Four Freshmen and Poinciana and brass ensemble transporting the audience to the candlelit halls of 16th century Bavaria.

Chamber music has proved a particular highlight of this term’s work and our cello ensemble with Will Lithgow at the helm sailed expertly through a transcription of the first movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 and, more cerebrally, A-Ha’s Take on Me arranged expertly by the man himself. “It seemed a good idea at the time,” he told the audience about the piece, which was performed complete with synth drum patches for that ’80s airbrushed feel!

The School Orchestra gave the audience a consummate rendition of Vaughan Williams’s pastoral idyl Linden Lea, highlighting a particularly homogenous and sensitive string section, then stirringly romped through Mendelssohn’s Marsch der Priester from Athalie.

Our massed choirs have been working particularly well in refining their quality and production of sound. Chamber Choir provided real polish to the evening accuracy and complete poise in delivery of three difficult pieces. Choir’s stirring representation of Aston’s So they gave their bodies to the commonwealth – entirely apt for this year and this month – and Haydn’s Insanae et Vanae Curae brought together all ages, abilities and personified music’s true community spirit.

Barbershop offered a tantalising morsel into the work they have been doing this term to broaden their repertoire – we’ll hear more from them very soon I’m sure.

Finally, we heard from the Jazz Band, which is growing in strength and quality with excellent solos from both staff and students and an early stocking-filler from Aiden ‘Buble’ Hall.

The musicians are indebted to Doug, Will, Giacomo, the incredibly talented visiting music staff for their expert guidance as well as Neil Hornsby for running such a slick show and to Cathy Knowles for her warm, comforting matriarchal presence in the Music School (and her constant supply of cakes!)

The evening raised £1.5k for the John Badley Foundation, which offers financial support through bursaries, giving more young people a chance to benefit from the transformational opportunity a Bedales education can provide.