It is just as well that Cokethorpe’s Dining Hall does not have rafters, with a programme and an audience that were packed well beyond where rafters might have been for the eagerly anticipated St Cecilia Concert. Sat amidst the glorious acoustics provided by the Hall, the audience were treated to an equally splendid programme of music from the Prep and Senior Schools, with orchestral, choral, ensemble and band performances alongside mesmerising duets and trios from well over one hundred participating pupils.
Haydn’s Symphony 104 in D was followed by Fantasia on British Sea Songs by Henry Wood, played with great aplomb by the Orchestra, setting the tone for the evening’s musical mesmerism to come. The Senior Choir showed great skill as they admirably dealt with their challenging pieces from Dyson, Menken, and Rutter. They were followed by a captivating piano duet from Eloise (Year 4, Symonds) and Caellum (Lower Sixth, Vanbrugh) before the Prep Choir dazzled with a selection of songs from this term’s Prep production of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl to round off the first half.
After the interval, the First Form and Brass Ensemble’s had the audience swaying in their seats with their respective performances of a Medley from The Lion King and Neil Diamond’s perennially crowd-pleasing Sweet Caroline. The Rock Band brought proceedings up to the ‘nineties’ and ‘noughties’ with assured performances of songs from Amy Winehouse and The Cranberries, before the Senior Clarinet Ensemble returned us to the classical, with Rhosymedre by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The evening closed with Sicilian Mariner’s Hymn, Can You Hear Me (which was emotionally sung along with sign language), and Torches from the Clarinet, Prep Chamber, and School Choirs respectively, and a string trio of Caellum (Lower Sixth, Vanbrugh), Ella (Fourth Form, Vanbrugh), and Sophie (Fourth Form, Vanbrugh). A superb performance from all involved.