Perse musicians showcase talents in special concerts

More than 300 Perse musicians highlighted their virtuosity across a series of showcase concerts in the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre.

The Year 10+ and Year 7-11 performances entertained audiences with a wide variety of orchestras, groups and ensembles playing a repertoire ranging from classical and jazz to pop and rock.

Wind Band 1 blew everyone away as they got the Year 10+ concert under way with a rendition of Stephenson’s Rocket by Nigel Hess before the Big Band played jazz standard Manteca and the theme from children’s TV show Sesame Street.

Movements from Fuchs’ Serenade No 3 in E Minor were performed with style by the Chamber Orchestra, while the Symphony Orchestra rounded off the concert with excellent recitals of Weber’s Der Freischutz: Ouverture and Elgar’s work Salut d’Amour.

Jack Fan (Upper Sixth) was thrilled to have been given the honour of conducting the Symphony Orchestra in their Weber performance by Perse Director of Music Ben Wingfield.

He said: “After playing other instruments for many years, it was a dream come true. I remember asking Mr Wingfield if I could conduct the orchestra after a concert last summer, and half a year later I was holding my arms up in front of 80 of my peers!

“I’d never conducted an orchestra before, so I had to put in a lot of work beforehand. However, standing on the podium and hearing the amazing sounds during rehearsals and the improvements week on week, it was 100% worth it.

“No instrument can make a sound even close to a full orchestra and you certainly feel a lot of responsibility for it when you’re stood up there. The moments I loved most were throwing my arms up and then a massive boom would come from the whole orchestra!

“I was extremely proud of how well the orchestra developed on the piece from our first rehearsal together all the way to the final performance. All the performers gave so much energy in the final performance that made it truly exciting like the piece it is. If Weber was still alive, I’m sure he would have loved it!”

The Year 7-11 show was formed of two mini concerts, the first featuring classical recitals by the Sinfonietta, Upper Strings and Advanced Strings ensembles.

Meanwhile, Wind Bands 2 and 3 staged the second show with performances of pop classics such as Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up and True Colors by Cyndi Lauper.

Mr Wingfield commented: “With 310 pupils taking part in performances featuring groups of up to 80 musicians onstage, and the chance to dabble in repertoire which challenges and delights in equal measure, our flagship concerts for our bands and orchestras demonstrated Perse music at its grandest. Our pupils really rose to the occasions.”

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