‘Spectacular’ swan song for the 2024 leavers

‘Spectacular’ swan song for the 2024 leavers

Musicians throughout the School celebrated the contributions of this year’s leavers at a special concert, with the Year 13s themselves enjoying one last chance to show what they can do.

The Leavers’ Concert paid full tribute to the final-year students, several of whom play in as many as seven ensembles.

The programme for the event in the Shearly Hall spanned many centuries and many musical genres, taking the audience from Mozart to Britney Spears.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “This was a musically spectacular evening, and it was heart-warming to hear not only the quality of musicianship, but also to see the gratitude the younger boys have towards the senior students who help direct, conduct and rehearse ensembles.

“The leavers themselves have made an immense contribution to music at the School, both through playing and through making time to conduct and direct other musicians. It should be remembered that they have done so while also participating in other aspects of School life: those performing at the concert included pupils holding offers from Oxbridge or to study medicine next year, demonstrating that high academic achievement and full extra-curricular involvement really can go hand in hand.”

Paying her own tribute, Director of Music Ruth Partington told the audience she and her colleagues were left wondering how they will manage without the Year 13 musicians next year!

The Jazz Bands and Senior Winds got everyone in the groove with pieces such as I Got Rhythm, Superstition and Sing, Sing, Sing, while the School Choir, supported by a pupil backing band, gave a foot-tapping performance of Elton John’s I’m Still Standing.

Highlights of the concert included performances by the Indian Ensemble. Year 13’s Isher Jagdev explained that the final piece, Tarana – Raag Basant, was a conversation and, with the help of Year 11’s Vase Pardeepan, went on to demonstrate that everything you can say can be played on tabla!

Miss Partington said: “It is great to see this ensemble growing in numbers, with new recruit Param Jani, of Year 7, showing wonderful vocal ability. Isher leaves it in great shape.”

The Electric Guitar Ensemble’s aptly chosen piece, Europe’s The Final Countdown, directed by leaver Shubh Rathod, opened the second half of  the concert.

Performed 40 years after it famously served as the accompaniment to Torvill and Dean’s figure-skating gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, Ravel’s Boléro showcased many soloists and sections as it built towards its conclusion, even featuring the three Assistant Heads (Crispin Bonham-Carter, James Kane and Sarah Westcott) on percussion.

There was then a pause in proceedings for the Headmaster’s presentation of Music Colours and Bars. Among the nine boys awarded Colours, Noah Morley, of Year 10, received Senior Colours a year early, recognising his exceptional contribution to music at QE. Bars went to Harrison Lee and Nikhil Mark, both of Year 12.

Year 13 leavers then made their own presentation to the three music teachers – Director Miss Partington and Music teachers Rebecca German and Jas Hutchinson-Bazely – praising their guidance and support.

The Orchestra’s performance of Britney Spears’ hit, Toxic, delivered fun aplenty. Not only did this feature both tabla and an electronic remix by Year 13’s Indrajit Datta, but the appearance of glow sticks brought some rave vibes to the Shearly Hall – a QE first.

After wearing a white shirt and School tie along with his peers as he performed in multiple ensembles during the concert, Year 13’s Arjun Patel deftly made the change into black tie to conduct the Orchestra in Leavers’ Waltz, the final piece of the evening, which he had composed himself.

  • Click on the thumbnails below to view photos from the concert.