It was an unadulterated pleasure to attend our extraordinary run of concerts last November and December, from the intimate lunchtime recitals to the spectacular orchestras and choral society. And the last concert of all was as fine as any: the Bands put on a wonderful show, full of seasonal joy and virtuosic energy.
St John’s played excellent host first to Mr Shepherd’s Swing Band, reprising some of its top numbers from the recent Felixstowe excursion. Fantastic! Slick, quick and ‘terrifick’. The Band has a unity to it at the moment as fine as at any time in its distinguished history. The performance set the tone for what was to come, as the smaller ensembles took to the stage: clarinets, recorders, brass, saxophones, trombones, and to round off a sumptuous first half, the Percussion Ensemble with its typically and mesmerizingly hypnotic… (is that a tautology? Surely I am allowed one in Advent?) … Mr-Hubbard-arrangements. Following the themes from one player to another; the interplay and the interweaving; it’s a visual delight as much as an auditory one.
And then after a delightfully convivial interval over mulled apple juice, we were back in our seats for Mr Hubbard’s Concert Band which celebrated and remembered Mr Stafford both through the arrangements it played, the carols it led (good heavens, Mr Hubbard… what a voice you have to inspire your audience to sing back), and the stellar performance it put in.
This was a sparkling evening, and a sparkling conclusion to a term of music making in concert. Our enormous thanks to go everyone in the music department, staff and pupils alike, for all that they have achieved under Mr Penny’s fine leadership and in such difficult circumstances this term. Mr Stafford would have been very proud.