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.

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From Stalin’s Moscow to the Austria of Mozart and Brahms

The Cecilia Concert has the reputation for its eclectic programming but 2013’s must be the most extreme yet: from Stalin’s Moscow to the Austria of Mozart and Brahms with plenty of stops in between. Keir Rowe began the music with a brilliantly spirited performance of Shostakovich’s Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra. Clearly this was the composer letting off steam during the Soviet Union’s worst decade and the Concert Band whirled their way expertly through the music. The next part of the orchestral half was much more traditional with the First Orchestra playing Brahms’ St Anthony Variations and Will Lithgow conducting the Chamber Orchestra in a wonderfully poised rendition of Mozart’s Divertimento. The second half of the concert was devoted to choral music with the Barbershop Boys, the Cecilia Consort and Choir all performing. As a singer in the latter Nick Gleed‘s programme notes confirmed my fears calling the C.P.E. Bach Magnificat ‘astonishingly difficult’ and ‘unfathomable’ and yet the audience enthusiastically received the 182-bar ‘Amen’. Congratulations must go to everyone in the Music Department for arranging yet another highly successful concert.

By Nick Meigh, Teacher of History and Choir member

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

Exciting concoction offered at Cecilia Concert

You are warmly invited to the Cecilia Concert next Wednesday 21 November when an exciting concoction of music will be performed by Bedales students. The concert will include Sousa’s famous marches played by the Concert Band. The Chamber Orchestra is playing Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, as well as the slow movement of the Bach double violin concerto. A larger than ever Bedales Symphony Orchestra will play the well known Emperor Waltzes by Johann Strauss. The Choir will sing Haydn’s Insanae et vanae curae and Schubert’s Intende voci orationis. Once again, the concert will be sponsoring Cecily’s Fund. Free tickets are available from Bedales Box Office by contacting tickets@bedales.org.uk or 01730 711511.

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.