Matthew Burns

A NIGHT AT THE MUSICALS

Sedbergh School Music Department dazzled an audience of parents, staff, pupils and guests on Friday night with the annual ‘A Night at the Musicals’, in its third year. A varied programme included medleys and superb solo performances from The Lion King, West Side Story, Wicked, Carousel, Quid Dickens, Beauty and the Beast, Porgy and Bess, and Man of La Mancha. 

The orchestra, led confidently by Candice Dobson (L), started the evening off in style and a group singing ensemble performed ‘Hail, Holy Queen from Sister Act’, conducted by new music teacher Ellie Hargreaves.

This had the audience tapping their feet along with the syncopated rhythm at the end, leading straight into Maddie Robinson and Felicity Brearley’s exciting, highly-charged and sassy Chicago medley with an energised, rhythmic Big Band accompaniment. We look forward to more of this at the sell-out Jazz and Swing Night next term.

Two leading ladies from the last major school production, Les Miserables, treated the audience to solos – Eden McGuire (Eponine in Les Miserables) gave a knock-out rendition of Summertime, from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, hitting some incredible notes with power and great ease, echoing the style of the Clara given to us by sopranos Leontyne Price and Harolyn Blackwell.

Sahana Grimaldi (Cosette in Les Miserables) sang a bewitching ‘Defying Gravity’, the signature song from Wicked. Jack Roper, who sang a solo from the barricades, Red and Black, gave us a very smooth ‘If I loved You’, from Carousel, and Harry Bolton’s ‘The Impossible Dream’, was very steady and well-projected. Other solo performances, for some, the first time in such an intimate setting, showed much poise.

Director of Music Chris Allinson said: “The first large-scale concert of the year, this is the beginning of the journey and a great challenge for our musicians, and in particular for our large ensembles. The many demands of ensemble playing go well beyond playing the correct notes and take time to develop. I am delighted with the work that these ensembles have done in what has been effectively just a few hours.”

Thanks go to Matt Palmer, our Teacher of Brass, who conducted the CCF Band, and to Susan Doherty who masterminded most of the show’s programme but couldn’t be there due to breaking her arm. Visiting music teachers and academic staff supported the ensembles, such as Chris Swainson on trumpet, and John Seymour on piano – not to mention Deputy Head of School James Horan who also accompanied several soloists.

The evening set the tone for an exciting year ahead with more performances from Sedbergh music department. The next major event is the Sedbergh School Choral Society’s concert on Sunday 11th December, when they will perform Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, A Mass for Peace. For tickets, please visit www.trybooking.co.uk/BDN

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