‘Wonderful performances’ as QE musicians bring the term to a festive close

Queen Elizabeth’s School brought high standards of musicianship to its Christmas celebrations as it ended the term with a two charity events and a traditional Carol Service.

The Top Brass ensemble and members of the Chamber Choir performed carols in the Spires shopping centre to raise money for North London Hospice, a local charity that QE has supported for many years. Despite playing in sub-zero temperatures, the seven brass players and six singers richly entertained the substantial lunchtime crowds, drawing many out of the shops and raising nearly £100 in an hour. “Among the crowds were children in buggies who were thrilled to see the brass instruments and revelled in their loud sound, and also retired people who enjoyed the traditional sights on a cold, wintry day,” said QE’s Director of Music, Kieron Howe.

The invitation to perform carols in the Spires dates back at least 15 years. The Charity Christmas Concert in association with the Rotary Club Barnet is of a similar vintage; this year’s was the 17th such event. It featured a tremendous variety of music, from George Gershwin to Giovanni Gabrieli and from Leroy Anderson to Archangelo Corelli. There were traditional pieces – the Choir and Senior String Orchestra performing And the Glory of the Lord from Handel’s Messiah – as well as fresh interpretations of old favourites, such as Away in a manger set to Ragam Shankarabaranam, perfomed by the Senior Indian Ensemble.

Praising the dedication and hard work of pupils throughout the term, Mr Howe also saluted their “wonderful performances” during the concert and announced that Senior Music Colours are to be awarded to boys in Years 11, 12 and 13.

Towards the end of the evening, the 2010-11 Rotary Club President, Ian Johnston, thanked the audience in the Shearly Hall for their support and spoke about the club’s charitable endeavours: “It would be difficult to list all the other things we do in the local community, but giving dictionaries to schools, taking underprivileged children out to Paradise Park, a trip into the countryside for the elderly, supporting school activities such as interact clubs and helping preserve the environment are but a few. We support the Jaipur limb centre in India, Water Aid, Shelter Box, Save a Child’s Heart and many more projects.”

The concert concluded with the audience joining in the singing of three carols.

The School’s Service of Nine Lessons & Carols in the final week of term was held at the Church of St John The Baptist . Readings were given by QE pupils from throughout the School, including the School Captain, Sam Sherman, and by members of staff. In addition to the congregational carols, there were choral pieces by the School’s Choir and Chamber Choir, from the plainsong introit Veni Emmanuel to John Joubert’s 1951 Torches carol. The organ was played by Old Elizabethan Peter Martin.

The Headmaster gave the ninth and final reading from the famous first chapter of St John’s Gospel, in which the apostle unfolds the great mystery of the incarnation. After the blessing, the service ended with the congregation singing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.