The Keyboard Soirée in Term II gave a number of boys learning piano at the School the chance to perform for family and friends. After several years of Zoom lessons and limited performance opportunities it was a wonderful opportunity to share music together in person and for parents to meet their sons’ piano teachers. A wide range of solo piano repertoire was performed, from Mozart and jazz arrangements to Chopin’s legendary Ballade No.1 in G minor.
The first few weeks of Term III saw two very different vocal soirées take place. Pupils of Mr Koen van Stade presented Chant to Cage, a programme exploring the history of vocal music from the Middle Ages through to the modern era. The boys performed unaccompanied plainchant from as early as the 9th Century, a variety of works from the Renaissance through to the Romantic period, and a snapshot of more modern works from the art music and musical theatre traditions. Mr van Stade, Mr Wagner and Ms Campbell accompanied the boys on organ, harpsichord or piano according to the composers’ original intentions. The performance of John Cage’s Litany for the Whale led us almost full circle with four singers calling unaccompanied to each other from the corners of Big School.
A week later the vocal pupils of Ms Kym Parrish presented an equally engaging but very different programme – Connected – which explored the effect of having information and the ability to connect at our fingertips through the smartphone. Taking the form of a cabaret, the evening featured an original script written by Ms Parrish with songs from the musical theatre genre interspersed throughout. Ms Parrish accompanied the boys at the piano and both audience and performers enjoyed the more informal seating plan. Solos and duets were interspersed with banter, tap dancing and lots of laughs in this most entertaining evening.