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Full House for Christmas Concert

On Friday 4 December 2015 the fabulous Christmas Concert took place in the Elder Concert Hall. The programme was wonderfully varied and involved around 140 pupils and a full concert hall housed a highly appreciative audience.

Once the trumpets were in position on the balcony, they began the concert with a rousing Fanfare by Wagner, conducted by Tony Waller. Tony and his troops walked down to the stage to join the lower brass for a performance of Trumpet Tune by John Stanley. These two performances involved pupila across the ability range from grade 1 to 8 and Tony had kindly written special parts for the beginner players very effectively.

The Concert Band followed, under the expert direction of Director of Music, Duncan Emerson. They started with a medley from The Lion King which conjured images of the colourful African landscape and it was superbly performed. Following this was a Christmas treat of A Jazzy Christmas featuring different areas of the band and up-beat syncopated versions of well known Christmas tunes. The Guitar Group followed with a lovely contrast El Gato Montes by Manuel Penella. Coached by Fiona Richardson, the four players wore colourful Christmas jumpers for their performance.

The Percussion Group gave an energetic performance on the raised platform of a piece called Fast Let Loose by Peter Birkby and conducted by Head of Percussion, Richard Baker. Finishing off the first-half, the much loved Dance Band, directed by Duncan Emerson, performed The Look of Love by Hal David & Burt Bachrach and arranged by Mark Taylor. This piece featured Izzy T as a singer soloist and she really captured the mood of the song. The Raider Returns followed, which was a punchy, funky piece even involving foot-stomps and hand claps and it made for a terrific ending to an entertaining first half.

After the interval, the Chamber Orchestra dictated a change in mood with a colourful piece called Pastels written by American composer John Cacavas. The interesting melodic lines and jazz harmonies were sensitively brought out by the Head of Strings, Christina Scott. A further change of gear welcomed the Senior Saxophone Quartet, directed by Head of Woodwind and Brass, performing Le Petit Fleur by Sidney Bechet and When The Saints Go Marching In arranged by Niehuas. The players in this group are a relatively new ensemble and clearly have great potential.

Amaris Choir, conducted by Isabel White, followed with two lovely Christmas pieces; a beautiful piece called One Cold Dark Night, composed by Miss White’s father, Peter White and then the more frivolous Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard. The sound of the girls' voices was lovely and really engaging.

The Soul Band, coached by Richard Baker and Dugald Clark, ended the concert in style with Hard to Handle by Otis Reading. The vocal solo was delivered in his customary confident and endearing style by Head Boy, Sam W. Cas B and Lotte T brilliantly sang two further toe-tapping Christmas pieces, Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin’ Stevens and Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade. This group keep getting better and better and they sent everyone away with a warm Christmas glow! Thanks to all of the pupils for providing us with an excellent evening of music and a great sense of fun!