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Past Pupil Concert Review

Date published: Wed 18 Jun 2014   Author: HLH   Category: Performing Arts   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email

Past-Pupil Concert, 17th June 2014

The first Past-Pupil Concert held on the 17th June, provided some of the best music ever heard at The Bishop's Stortford High School.

Nine former pupils, amongst them four Musician of the Year title holders, going back 20 years, returned to The School for a fun but fantastic evening of outstanding music.

Alex Morgan together with his twin brother James Morgan, opened the evening with Sax teacher Joe McGlohan and an ensemble including Chris Senior and current students William Barnardo, Ollie James and Eli Haines.

The Morgan Twins, as we often refer to them in school, have just finished their first year studying engineering at university and really enjoyed being back in their old school playing with former teacher Joe. The group played one of Joe's own compositions and were the perfect start to the evening.

Next up was Josephine Wilkin on flute. Josie, who won Musician of the Year twice - in 2010 and 2011, has recently passed her music degree and is starting a Masters in performance in the autumn at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

Playing Airborne by Gary Schocker, and accompanied by Simon Gilliver, Josie's piece was simple and beautiful with an extremely clever sequence of fingering, producing an outstanding performance.

Luzél Oppermann, who is in her final year of a humanities degree at Stellenbosch University in South Africa followed singing two songs, I see Fire by Ed Sheeran accompanied by Richard Burrell on guitar, and Zombie by The Cranberries, which she played piano and sang without music.

Chris Senior, who won the Musician of the Year title in 2001 made everyone laugh explaining how he never practised before school concerts, but somehow always managed to sound ok. Chris then took to the stage with a mash-up of pop songs from the years he was at TBSHS (1995-2001) and gave a wonderful flawless performance on the drums.

Richard Burrell, who is in his third year at the Contemporary School of Music in London, played two pieces on Classical Guitar, Fluster and The Simple Things. Richard played with such grace and finesse; the music was beautiful, and haunting and Richard gave a perfect performance leaving the listener hungry for more.

Stuart Dodgson and Tamzin Haines followed Richard with a trumpet duet - Concerto in C Major, A Duet for Two Trumpets and Piano by Guiseppe Torelli. Fast and lively, the two danced in and out of harmonies and echoes to produce a delightful performance.

Stuart, who won the Musician of the Year title in 1993, is now one of the school's brass teachers as well as having a very full schedule of teaching, conducting for Herts. Music Services and performing with various London orchestras.

Tamzin has just completed a music degree and has a summer job whilst consolidating plans for future study; she is hoping to do a Masters in Conducting.

Robin Horgan, winner of the 2008 Musician of the Year, concluded the first half, singing four outstanding pieces across several styles of music. Robin went up to Oxford on a choral scholarship, graduating last year and is currently working in Cambridge whilst developing his voice and beginning to make his way into the world of professional opera. Robin was accompanied on piano by his university friend Mark Heath.

The first piece, Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Misérables was performed with a depth of emotion perfectly re-creating the character from the show. It was a performance of great pianissimos and fortissimos showing off Robin’s wonderful range. Setting the scene for this piece was the inspired use of red, white and blue lighting by our technician Paul Pell-Ilderton - perfect!

An die Musik, one of Franz Schubert’s best known songs is built around one of his simplest and most beautiful melodies. A hymn to the art of music, it allowed Robin to deliver a master class in the art of the lyrical tenor; from the sweetest pianissimo to the full throated almost baritonal colour of the louder passages, Robin reminded us of why this song has remained popular.

Der Doppelgänger also by Franz Schubert, had been especially requested by Tim Litchfield as the current year 12s are studying it as part of their course. Robin again changed persona, totally delivering the piece in character, singing in German, as the mournful hero remembering his former love and his lost younger self. Robin was note perfect and the power of his voice transported the audience far away.

The final piece was On The Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady where Robin transformed into society toff Freddy Eynsford-Hill the man in love with Eliza. Perfectly performed, Robin was simply outstanding, in dynamic range, vocal range and tone. Holding the last note for what seemed hours Robin gave a performance worthy of any concert hall - simply mesmerising.

If this is a young man who has been told his voice will not be fully matured until he is 30 years old, it is difficult to imagine how much more perfect his voice will become. The world must surely await with great impatience.

Following the interval, everyone, assisted by a few current students, joined together to play in our new ensemble, the Past Pupil ‘Scratch’ Concert Band.

Bugler's Holiday by Leroy Anderson was delightfully performed by Tim Litchfield, Stuart Dodgson and Tamzin Haines, a fast, furious and fun piece for three trumpets.

Toccata in D Minor by Bach arranged by Roy Farr, was a piece the group had only run through for 10 minutes earlier in the evening, yet such was the calibre of musician, they produced a wonderful performance to delight the audience.

Finishing with fun piece, Instant Concert by Harold Walters, (and joined by Mrs Haines on triangle), the final performance of the evening summed up the black and gold spirit of the school to rapturous applause.

The Past-Pupil Concert is a new initiative, and to see so many of our former students pursuing a career in the music world and to hear and enjoy how they have developed since leaving the school was a total delight. The concert was an opportunity to meet old friends, enjoy a shared love of music and top-up the Black & Gold.

As it was such a wonderful evening, we may hold another concert in the future.

Many pupils pass through the Music Department of The Bishop’s Stortford High School, and receive the constant support of the music staff and the peripatetic teachers, to further develop their own musical abilities and a life-long love of music. It is a tradition of which we at TBSHS are very proud.

Thank you to everyone who performed and came to listen; as Mr David Hows said "That was the best music concert I have been to at this school in the last 20 years"

In the timeless words of Mr Paul Noble – “Nobody, ever, really leaves The Bishop’s Stortford High School.”