Wednesday 27th November 2019
This year the Jazz Band started the evenings proceedings with a favourite, Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman, the perfect lively opening number for the evening. It was followed by Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, where the band were joined by the bluesy Rachel Howles on vocals.
In stark contrast, and going back several centuries in time, the String Orchestra, joined by Tom Pankhurst on cello, played Symphony in Bb, third movement by William Boyce, and Prelude from Brook Green Suite by Holst, both of which were very different to the opening of the evening, but very pretty pieces.
We were treated to the duet ‘All I ask of you’ from Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, performed by Alex Cooper and Ben Sidaway. Ben has a very classic, almost old-style musical tone to his voice which complimented Alex’s clear and clean vocal, and their harmonies were lovely.
The Piano Trio of Jack Hines (piano), Nav Khakh (violin) and Tom Pankhurst (cello) gave us a very jolly Hornpipe by Gordon Jacob, Jack particularly impressing on the piano. The Chamber Choir performed Locus iste by Bruckner, which was absolutely lovely with its lilting rise and fall, a simple piece but all the nicer for its simplicity. They closed the first half of the evening with the uplifting Ndi Jesu chete, a traditional Zimbabwean piece, which seemed to remain with the audience as they went into Chambers for the interval, as some were overheard humming it!
The Orchestra opened the second half with the nostalgic theme to Thunderbirds which raised smiles from the parents in the audience and raised a warm cheer during the applause. The transition from this into Allegro giocoso from Symphony No.4 by Brahms was stalled somewhat by an impromptu timpani tuning session… New to the instrument, Nathan Hyatt, who played brilliantly throughout the Thunderbirds theme, had obviously heard something slightly amiss and tried to tune the timpani… at some length… ! It proved to be one of the funniest moments of the evening! The Brahms piece also featured some excellent triangle work from fellow percussionist Cam McNeil.
The Saxophone duet that followed, featuring the multi-talented Nathan Hyatt and Ethan Townsend was jazzy, fun and highly accomplished. They played three contemporary pieces by Nigel Wood: Swanky, Elegy and Virtual Velocity. They both displayed skill and dexterity, playing quite complex pieces and working together beautifully.
The only solo performance of the evening came from Michael Jones, who gave a very touching introduction to his chosen piece Christmas Card by one of his personal favourites, Steven Curtis Chapman. To perform solo was brave and he did so with clarity and confidence.
We went from a solo performer to a full stage as the full King Ed’s Choir followed, singing Mozart’s Kyrie from Litaniae Lauretanae (KV109). The choir make a great sound! Full and rich with a lovely balance of complimentary voices. Mafu Zulu came next and it was nothing other than simply joyous!
The Wind band conducted by Mark Hadlington completed the evening, playing the Farr and Lamb arrangement of Toccata in D minor by Bach. They were accompanied by Cam McNeil on drums and Michael Jones on bass guitar, and my goodness it was rousing to say the least! A Lion King medley closed the evening and it was a piece that really allowed the wind band members to display their talent as individuals and as a band. They are a very tight group of musicians.
There really isn’t anything quite like the sound of a brass band, and there really isn’t anything quite like the appreciation and encouragement shown by King Ed’s students towards their peers. It is lovely to see (and hear!) how supportive they are of each other. A thoroughly enjoyable evening for everyone involved, as well as the audience!
Carol Service 7:00pm on 12th December 2019