Thursday, 10 February 2011


Every year in February Bancroft's School stages a concert at the Hall.  It takes place in the Livery Hall, now known to millions as the room used in The King's Speech where Colin Firth, in the guise of George VI, makes his accession speech under the stern gaze of portraits of previous British kings and queens.  In fact the Bancroft's performers are on a stage just in front of a rather severe portrait of Queen Victoria flanked by William IV, looking somewhat uncomfortable in a court dress comprising a decidedly odd padded hose and ermine cloak, and Edward VII, in complete contrast, looking totally confident.

As always the Music Department at the School, Roger Bluff, Enid Weaver and Debbie Mittell, put together a programme that lets a wide variety of individuals and ensembles every opportunity to give of their best.  The result was some very professional performances across a wide range of musical genres. 

These ranged from the Bancroft Swingers getting the evening off to a good start with a really crisp performance of The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.  This was followed by the Middle School Choir with some charming modern and traditional arrangements, Ben Yelverton giving an impressive piano solo of a Dohnanyi piece, not my favourite composer but a real challenge to play, and then elements of the Bancroft's Swingers reappeared as a saxophone quartet.  The evening continued with the Bancroft's Singers and a vocal solo by Rebecca Slattery.  Finally everyone seemed to come back on a very crowded stage as the First Orchestra to give an excellent and lively interpretation of Franz von Suppe's Overture to his Light Cavalry. 

It was all very professional.  But what was equally important was that everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves greatly.  Performing in front of such a large audience, including one's parents and probably some hyper-critical sibling, is quite a test.  If there were nerves or anxiety they did not show.

An uplifting start to the week.

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