Creative solution to a concert conundrum

Creative solution to a concert conundrum

Covid-19 caused the cancellation of the normal November Concert in front of a large audience in the Shearly Hall – but the Music department were determined not to be defeated by the pandemic. 

Director of Music Ruth Partington decided to use technology to showcase the boys’ musicianship and devised a creative way to recreate the experience of performing together.

Staff made special sound recordings over three days, featuring boys who had been rehearsing in their year group bubbles since September 

Pupils from across the year groups were brought together in socially-distanced ensembles in two large venues, the Shearly Hall and Main School Hall.   

To recreate, so far as was possible, an authentic concert experience for the boysthey were asked to wear ‘concert dress’  – with white shirts, where available, instead of the normal light blue – and Music ties. 

The recordings were then put together as a high-quality soundtrack illustrated by photographs and broadcast as a YouTube Premiere in early December. The recording remains available on the Music Department’s YouTube channel. 

“We were determined to do our best to give all our musicians a collective ensemble experience and an opportunity to perform,” said Miss Partington

The virtual concert opened with a Best of Queen medley from the Junior Wind Band. 

It then featured contributions from the School Choir, Year 13 Choir, Junior Strings, Advanced Strings, Senior Orchestra and from the Gaubert Trio, who played Soir d’automne from Trois Aquarelles by the French composer, Philiippe Gaubert. 

Other works performed were by Grieg, Beethoven and Richard Rodgers (the Junior Strings’ performance of tunes from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma!). 

The QE Blues Band brought the 51-minute performance to an end in upbeat style with the 1958 Mexican-style hit, The Champs.  

After the success of those sessions, the Music department adopted a similar format for the end-of-term Christmas Concert.