From what has been a momentous term, with 12 concerts, involving over 140 individual student performances, the Music School presented its immense and ever-popular Music At Millfield concert to end the term. This evening featured all our major ensembles who have been working extremely hard over this past term, whilst complying to social distancing rules, something all of us have had to learn and adapt to in our ensemble playing. The evening consisted of pre recordings of the larger ensembles and live performances involving Millfield’s talented musicians across a variety of both vocal and instrumental ensembles. This was a celebration of collaborative music making and was a great way to end the Autumn term.
To open the concert, Junior Choir took to the stage singing We’ve Only Just Begun by the Carpenters, in this wonderful arrangement by Jason Hazeley, the choir provided a beautifully reflective opening. To follow, they performed Isaiah’s Prophecy by Alexander L’Estrange which was sung with clarity, showing both musical and vocal strength with commanding vibrancy. Next up saw the first of our pre-recorded performances from Symphonic Winds+, playing Latin Celebration arranged by Aaron Tatgenhorst; a brilliant performance, played with energy to complement the spirited rhythms and character but also well contrasted within the quieter moments, to highlight the many sonorities within the ensemble.
Following this saw our newly-formed percussion group, Striking Sounds. The quartet of student players performed Yellow After The Rain by Michael Peters, arranged by our very own Mr Jeremy Little and it was an astonishing performance. There was high-quality playing from the students, with each student standing out, as well as many timbres across the ensemble that resonated throughout.
Up next was Brass Ensemble, joined by Year 9 Alex on drums, performing Pharrell Williams’ hit song Happy, arranged by John Hammonds. Another uplifting performance with a wonderful blend of sounds within the ensemble, and the exciting contrasts in the hand clapping to build anticipation before going back to the familiar chorus, it was a lovely rendition of this piece. Following this, we had a live performance from Camerata singing four remarkable pieces; They Are At Rest by Edward Elgar, Softly by Will Todd, Bogoróditse Djévo by Arvo Pärt and My Lord Has Come by Will Todd. It was hugely rewarding to hear Camerata in full force in the Johnson Hall; the rich harmonic textures in the pieces sung with great musicality and emotion as well as the great technicality, delivered an exceptional rendition of their programme. The Millfield Orchestra followed with Spartacus: Adagio from Suite No. 2; a thought-provoking and moving piece of music performed with emotive character and musicianship amongst the ensemble, great melodic shape and an overall immense sound. To our next recorded performance, Augmented Sixths sung two numbers: White Winter Hymnal by Robin Pecknold and Take me Home by Olusola, Maldonado and Mae. Sung together in flawless harmony, the ensemble provided a heartfelt performance showcasing their excellent ensemble skills.
Coming towards the end of the evening, our final three acts saw The Brandenburg Players, consisting of a collaboration between music scholars and staff, performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major BWV 1049 in what proved to be a performance demonstrative of clean lines, clear direction and a commanding musical presence. Up next saw Jazz Band performing Blues in Hoss Flat by Count Basie and Frank Foster; a highly energetic and enjoyable deliverance of this piece, featuring the four solos played by Lower Sixth students Jevon on alto sax, Billy on tenor sax, Year 11 Asher on trumpet and Lower Sixth Cameron on trombone. Their second piece Mood Indigo by Duke Ellington was a perfect contrast with its calmer sense of character but innkeeping of the energy within the music. Overall, it was a highly dynamic performance. Finally, to close this magnificent evening of music, Percussion Ensemble performed The Traveller by Peter Birkby; a combination of an array of percussion instruments, creating a fascinating sound world with the many textures and timbres, a highly entertaining performance.