In spite of the obstacles thrown down by Covid, the annual Dean Close Summer Concert (formerly known as ‘Commem Concert’) went ahead on Friday 25 June to a capacity, if socially-distanced, audience. The air of anticipation from both pupils, staff and those watching was palpable. Performances have continued throughout the pandemic in the Music Department, but necessarily in year group bubbles and will small, invited audiences. This was something quite different; a full choir, orchestral and band concert given to an audience of parents, staff, trustees and fellow students, limited only by performers needing to be spaced apart on stage and with a maximum of thirty performers per group. During the pandemic, musicians around the word have shone through their adaptability in challenging circumstances, and our students rose to the challenge magnificently, performing with enthusiasm and skill for nearly three hours. We all needed this and it felt good to, once again, share performance.
The programme was eclectic, ranging from Chamber Choir’s poised performance of ‘Beatus Vir’ with harpsichord and string quartet, to a full orchestral performance of Saint-Saens’ ‘Carnival of the Animals’ with paired piano soloists Jenny and Jiyoon stealing the spotlight and, occasionally, drawing gasps from the audience with their virtuosic synchronized runs. Other stand-out moments included Tom Richardson’s performance as violin soloist in ‘Winter’ from Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’, Rachel’s solo role in Saint Saens’ Cello Concerto and a poignant vocal trio in Purifoy’s ‘The Tree’ from Rachel, Lily and Jenny.
After a short break the audience was treated to an hour of rousing jazz from the Senior Jazz Big Band led by Mrs Allen with solo spots from Lily, Finn and Tom, the latter raising the roof in the Sinatra classic ‘That’s Life’. Finally, the evening came to a close with a breakneck rendition of Chick Corea’s ‘Spain’, a fitting tribute given Corea’s untimely death earlier this year. This was a memorable and wide-ranging showcase of the talents of our students and a fitting send off for out standout crop of Upper Sixth Leavers. Let the music play on!