The Dean Close Music Department was proud to host its very first prep schools Orchestral Day last week, with 96 talented children from Pinewood, Abberley Hall, Berkhampstead, Tockington Manor, The Elms and Dean Close Prep schools. The budding musicians started the day by watching the Senior School orchestra perform the two pieces that they were about to spend the day learning. Many were clearly overwhelmed and full of disbelief that they could learn such fabulous music in a single day! Yet that is exactly what they did.

The string players were all coached by a member of the Carducci quartet, firstly in separate sectionals and then as a whole strings section. The wind were coached by Anita Godley and the brass by Hannah Opstad. The more advanced string members had a separate coaching session with Matt Denton of the Carducci Quartet and gave a fabulous rendition of “Plink, plank, plunk”, a piece that involves playing the instruments in unconventional ways. Wind and brass played the iconic Chariots of Fire theme tune for their separate item and the junior string group Pirates of the Aegean.

For their final performance, the entire ensemble of 96 young musicians were joined by the Dean Close orchestra. They performed two pieces – Slavonic Dance by Dvorak and Palladio by Karl Jenkins. Sixth Form Music Scholar, Louis Morford, performed Spring from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and the Carducci dazzled everyone with a lively piece by Piazzola.

Director of Music, Helen Porter, said: “The highlight of the day was seeing the prep school musicians with the Senior orchestra and Carducci Quartet perform together. The combination of 130 musicians on stage was a delight to behold.”