Rich sound and festive harmony at the Christmas Concert

Rich sound and festive harmony at the Christmas Concert

QE’s musicians sounded the start of the School’s festive countdown in grand and seasonal style with the 2017 Christmas Concert.

Governors and other VIP guests joined parents and staff flocking to the Shearly Hall, where the School’s choirs led the audience in favourite carols and QE’s leading instrumental ensembles performed an eclectic selection ranging from Handel to Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It was a wonderful concert, demonstrating once again the strength and depth of participation in Music at QE.

“The tenors and basses of the School Choir – now outnumbering altos and trebles for the first time – brought a real richness of sound with their performances of Barbara Ann (made famous by the Beach Boys) and the traditional Sinner Man, arranged by Roger Emerson.

“The Saxophone Ensemble’s excerpt from West Side Story and their rendition of Jingle Bells were of particularly high quality, while the Symphonic Winds (a new name for the former Concert Band) produced another highlight, their Selections from Home Alone evoking memories of what has become a Christmas film classic.

“It was fitting that this enjoyable evening was punctuated by the presentation of Senior and Junior colours to boys for their commitment and excellence,” the Headmaster added.

Director of Music Cheryl Horne and her colleagues directed most of the larger ensembles, while some other performances were pupil-led – the Senior Indian Ensemble, the Wind Quartet and the Barbershop group. The String Camerata is led by recent old boy Simon Purdy (2009–2016).

Composers featured during the concert included:

    • J S Bach – the Sinfonia’s Arioso from Cantata BWV 156
    • Madhurai Mani Iyer – the Senior Indian Ensemble’s Vilayaadum Pillaikal (The Joyful Children)
    • Irving Berlin – White Christmas, sung by the Barbershop group
    • J Iveson – whose arrangement of Christmas songs, entitled Christmas Crackers, was performed by the Brass Ensemble.

Among the distinguished guests were Cllr Wendy Prentice, representing the Mayor of the London Borough of Barnet, who was accompanied by Cllr Bridget Perry. Both are councillors for the High Barnet ward in which the School is situated.

The concert was held in association with the Rotary Club of Barnet, with which the School has enjoyed links for many years. The printed programme opened with a note of welcome from Brian Coleman, Old Elizabethan (1972–1979) and President of the Barnet Rotary Club.