Perse musicians showcase virtuosic virtual performances
5 Mar 2021
Gifted Perse musicians have continued to create stunning performances during lockdown using the power of technology.
Weekly recorded Friday Night Showcases have offered talented singers and players the chance to carry on giving recitals to virtual audiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The most ambitious projects have included the Perse Lockdown Choir and Lockdown Orchestra, featuring 60 and 111 pupils respectively ranging from Year 7 to Upper Sixth.
The Lockdown Choir came together online for a wonderful rendition of The Road Home by Stephen Paulus, while the Lockdown Orchestra have produced a vibrant version of Leonard Bernstein’s Mambo from the musical West Side Story.
Pupils spent three weeks preparing these pieces, joining Zoom rehearsals with music department staff, before recording their individual contributions along with a click track. Audio and video were mixed, mastered and synched to create the finished product, with the process made easier thanks to the quality of musicians’ submissions.
These performances will be followed next week by a recital, conceived by Perse Head of Keyboard Peter Hewitt, combining 45 pre-recorded pianists in a specially-arranged rendition of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights.
Perse Director of Music Ben Wingfield was delighted with how participants had thrown themselves into these projects in testing times and said they could feel extremely satisfied with what they had achieved.
He said: “In the performances what stands out is not only our pupils’ commitment to their individual contributions, but also the palpable sense of them making music together, as if in the same room, in spite of our separation.
“Our lockdown projects highlight the vital importance of music, and indeed all the arts, in the fostering of community, of individuals coming together to create a shared experience far bigger and more powerful than any one person can achieve on their own.
“This is something we can’t wait to restore fully as the grip of the pandemic loosens and we know our pupils and their audiences crave that re-connection too.
“We hope our pupil performers are as proud of what they have achieved as we are of them. While nothing can beat making music together live, we hope that our musicians enjoyed the experience too.”