Priory Summer Concert was a marvellous showcase of the schools’ musical talent, with pupils from all years taking part. The Summer Concert is traditionally an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate their progress over the year and the musicians of 2014 did not disappoint. They put on a show that was challenging, diverse and extremely enjoyable.
Priory singers continue to flourish and performances ranged from the clear, soulful strains of Ellie Ballantyne, singing ‘Say Something’ to Beatrice Kellam’s haunting, smoky ‘Ruby Tuesday’. For a while, Ellis Jones became Javert, obsessively seeking to bring justice in ‘Stars’. His performance showed remarkable commitment and energy, which then contrasted with Harriet Kelleher’s soothing rendition of ‘Somewhere Only We Know.’ Sam Biggs was ‘Radioactive’ in a performance to which his soaring treble added particular intensity, whilst Cally-Jo Madgwick had the audience in the palm of her hand with her joyful performance of ‘No-one.’ Brooke James gave an honest account of ‘Love Song’, ably accompanied by ex-pupil Matthew Hewitt on piano and Fay Edwards brought a telling sincerity to London Grammar’s ‘Strong’.
Improvisation skills were to the fore in Mutiny’s set, as the group continues to go from strength to strength. ‘I wish I knew how it would feel to be free’ showcased the individual talents of Priory woodwind, supported by bass player, Josh Reynolds. ‘St Thomas Infirmary’ proved how versatile this group is, as members moved swiftly between wind and percussion, assisting each other with the practicalities this entailed in a fine show of skilled co-operation and infectious humour.
Individually, woodwind performances contrasted the elegant perfection of J. S Bach’s Sonata No.4 for flute, played with great sensitivity by Alice Hopkinson, with the cheerful ditty ‘My Favourite Things’, to which Beth Linford brought warmth and vitality. Grace McCormick played with agility in ‘Tin Roof Blues’ and Ype de Greef brought mastery and style to ‘Mr PC’.
Keyboard and piano players were accomplished and polished. Luke Blay’s ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ had feet tapping, whilst Louise Dean charmed us with a ‘Little Folk Song’. Lauren Hill played with assured dynamic control in ‘Strange Things Happen’, making the piano sing, and Katy Dyer brought poise to ‘Oh Lord, Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me’. Lauren McNeil brought a sense of fun to ‘Jazzy Ellie’, which she performed in a duet arrangement with her teacher and Emma Poore played with spirit and an understanding of style in ‘Midnight Train’ and ‘Lambada’ .
Priory Vocal Group and friends (Bryani Blythe and Louise Dean) performed ‘Super Trouper’, with choreography and “shoo-pa-pa” audience participation, as well as ‘Sweet About Me’, which demonstrated the group’s expanding range of harmonies.
Priory Band concluded the concert with a spirited performance of the Lord High Executioner from The Mikado, before bidding the audience farewell , with excerpts from Haydn’s Farewell Symphony. In keeping with the composer’s original instructions, players gathered their music and left as their parts finished, until there was no-one remaining on stage. An amusing conclusion to a varied and entertaining evening.
The Priory Music Department would like to thank all parents and teachers for their continued support in helping our students to give such high quality performances. The uptake of individual lessons has continued to rise this year and this was reflected in the number of pupils from all years making debut performances. The Summer Concert was truly the culmination of pupils’ individual practice and commitment to rehearsals that goes on daily in the Music Department and at home.