Barbershop singers impress at Livery Company dinner

Barbershop singers impress at Livery Company dinner

The seven members of the School’s Senior Barbershop ensemble enjoyed entertaining guests at a dinner for The Worshipful Company of Farriers – and the feeling was mutual!

They had been invited to the 666-year-old London Livery Company’s annual dinner by its Master, Martin Russell, who is the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Barnet, as well as the parent of an Old Elizabethan.

The boys’ performance of a varied repertoire that included songs from the Renaissance through to the present day was very warmly received, with guests pronouncing themselves both impressed and moved by the music.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “The Barbershop boys were brilliant. I was very proud of them and enjoyed spending time in their lively, fun company.

“Martin is an active supporter of the School and I am very grateful to him for extending this invitation to us: it was an honour, and I know that the boys relished the opportunity to perform in such an illustrious setting.”

Livery companies are prestigious London trade or craft associations that originated as mediaeval guilds and now play a significant part in the life of the City of London, with many involved in charitable fund-raising.

The Worshipful Company of Farriers’ Livery Dinner was held at Founders’ Hall in Cloth Fair, Barbican. This modern building – it was opened by the Lord Mayor of London in 1987 and became Grade II-listed in 2018 – is built on one of the few streets to survive the Great Fire of 1666 and is constructed of traditional materials.

The evening gives Liverymen the chance to meet each other at a dinner which is less formal than Court dinners and lunches.

The Barbershop septet comprised: Year 13 pupils Jao-Yong Tsai, Olly Salter, Suraj Cheema and Atul Kanodia; Arjun Patel, of Year 12; Leo Sellis, of Year 10, and Rishi Watsalya, of Year 9. They are rehearsed by Jao-Yong and by Music teacher David Woodward.

After the event, Mr Russell was among those who wrote to the Headmaster to express his appreciation. The boys performed with “élan and with panache”, he stated. He thanked Director of Music Ruth Partington for her work in preparing the boys.

The boys’ version of Abide with Me was noted as being particularly moving. In addition to this traditional English hymn, which has been sung before every FA Cup final since 1927, the Senior Barbershop ensemble performed:

  • Dindir´ın – one of a set of more than 450 Spanish songs probably written for Ferdinand II around the 1490s
  • Windham – a 19th-century religious song written by the American composer, Daniel Read
  • Tee-idle dum dum – a traditional, romantic song that was popular in the US during the barbershop revival of the 1930s
  • My Evaline – another short, traditional barbershop song with a romantic theme
  • Matona mia cara – a comic song written by Renaissance composer Orlando di Lassus describing a German solider struggling to speak Italian to woo a lover
  • Ye banks and braes – a traditional Scottish folk song set to words by Robert Burns in 1791
  • My own sweet valentine – a modern barbershop song written by musician Charlie Bodley in memory of his wife.

The main image shows the boys warming up before their performance.