Christmas Concert 2021: great to be back!

Christmas Concert 2021: great to be back!

No fewer than 13 different ensembles performed as the School’s musicians came together for QE’s first major in-person concert since December 2019.

The Christmas Concert in the Shearly Hall featured scores of instrumentalists and singers tackling a programme that, although based around a festive theme, was very eclectic in nature.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It really was a wonderful evening of very high-quality music, and performers and audience members all seemed to hugely enjoy being back together for the first time in two years. My congratulations go to our Director of Music, Ruth Partington, and her team on a splendid concert.

“There were many highlights, with the Jazz Band maintaining their customary high standards – including amazing saxophone solos! – and the Orchestra taking on some challenging works.

“The Indian Ensemble’s piece, Dhanashree Thillana, went down really well, as did the Guitar Ensemble’s rendition of Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train. The inclusion of such repertoire in the programme amply demonstrates the importance of making space for different genres and sounds, while also showing very clearly that performance music can be fun.”

Boys introduced some of the pieces, acting as hosts for the concert: for example, Year 13 Orchestra clarinettist Conor Parker-Delves explained the story of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, preparing the audience for the moment when the guillotine falls towards the end of the piece.

“Several of the ensembles were rehearsed by pupils – and judging by the performances, they did a great job,” Mr Enright added.

“The large numbers of participants in our junior ensembles, such as Junior Strings, was very noticeable: their involvement bodes well for the future.

“Such enthusiasm and, indeed, the success of this concert as a whole gives us strong momentum to take forward for the opening of our Music School, planned for next term. Of course, the new facility should itself further participation and excellence in performance music.”

The School Choir and Orchestra brought the evening to a traditional conclusion with the carols,  Once in Royal David’s City and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.