The Staff and Scholars’ Recital was a joyous occasion for both performers and the audience. The evening left everyone stunned at the calibre and variety of talent displayed by our musicians here at Millfield.
The evening opened with an impressive piano duet from Cecilia and her teacher Jon Boyle, Head of Keyboard and Instrumental, playing Samba Triste from Divertimento for Two Pianos by Richard Rodney Bennett, a jaunty, jazzy number. Following this gave us a change in genre, taking us to the nineteenth century with a flute duet by Franz and Karl Doppler named Rigoletto Fantaisie, filled with a mixture of lyrical yet playful melodies, beautifully performed by Maddie and her flute teacher Stephanie Gilbert, with Jon Boyle accompanying. Continuing the theme of teacher-student duets, Jeremy Little, Head of Percussion, performed a marimba duet with Alex, followed by a marimba and vibraphone duet with Izzy. Alex and Jeremy played two of J.S. Bach’s Two-Part Inventions, No.4 and No.8, which were both mesmerizing and charming. Izzy and Jeremy beautifully presented Jack DeSalvo’s Pramantha and perfectly captured its wonderfully haunting atmosphere.
After the various duets, Jerry Crozier-Cole, one of our guitar teachers, led a Django Reinhardt style band consisting of himself and Rhys on guitars, Marianne Sutton (one of our Graduate Musician’s) on violin, Emily on clarinet and Ed on double bass. The group performed the classic Reinhardt number Nuages, with spectacular solos from the two guitars. Marianne then switched from violin to vocals, and the band performed a Kylie Minogue number, reimagined as if it was written in the 1940s French jazz era Reinhardt belonged to.
The recital continued with more duets, firstly by two of our music teachers, Hannah Wilkins and Alison Wilmshurst, who expertly performed two French Horn duets by Kerry Turner titled Intermezzo for Kristina and Trigger, which showcased the gorgeous tone and versatility of the instrument. Following this, Jane Finch, Millfield’s oboe teacher, performed two duets, first with Felix, and then with Cecilia. Each duo excellently played a movement from John Loeillet’s delightful Sonata in F major, Op.1, No.1. Accompanying them on continuo was Xanthe and Kirsty Barry, our Head of Academic Music.
For a complete change of mood and scenery, Marianne Vivash, one of the academic music teachers here at Millfield, put together a fantastic group of singers to perform the ‘Witches Chorus’ from Verdi’s operatic version of Macbeth. Illuminated with green lighting effects, this performance was bewitchingly spooky, as each performer embodied their character fully. The singers were Sarah Graves (academic teacher), Eloise Routledge (vocal teacher), Maddie, Esme, Jenny, Lola, Tansy, Belle Allan (graduate musician), Marianne Vivash, Jo, Bea, Angie, Cecilia, Annabel, Marianne Sutton, Kirsty Barry and Mr Boyle on Piano.
The next item was an extremely moving performance of Le Cyne (The Swan) from ‘Le Carnaval des animaux,’ composed by Camille Saint-Saëns. Claire Rose, an academic music teacher, played the viola with Jon Boyle on piano, and they beautifully delivered this piece in memory of their friend Will Monk.
Returning to some light jazz, our resident cello ensemble performed Tea for Two by Vincent Youmans arranged by Stephen Scotchmer. Led by Lucy Scotchmer, the group consisted of Hamish, Kirsty Barry, Xanthe, Toby, Abby, Melinda, and Maisie. They all played beautifully, collectively featuring the full range of the cello, encompassing the laid-back groove and mood of the music. We continued with strings and added a piano for a performance of Brahms’ Andante from his Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34, played by Marianne Sutton, Eloise, Hamish, Clive Hughes (Head of Strings), and Matthew Cook (Director of Music). This nostalgic piece filled the concert hall with a wonderful blend of sound from all five musicians, truly transporting the audience to the luscious sonorities of Brahms.
The final performance was perhaps the most ambitious of all, seeing twenty-four staff and students come together for a funky performance of Jamiroquai’s Virtual Insanity. The brass section was made up of Felix, Charlie, Zac, Billy, Matthew, and Matthew Shields; the rhythm section was Marianne Vivash (piano), Jerry Crozier-Cole (bass), Al (guitar) and Alex (kit); and our singers were Sarah Graves, Lola, Bea, Jenny, Tansy, Belle Allan, Angie, Megan, Daisy, Cecilia, Marianne Sutton, Matthew Cook, Hamish and Teddy. It was impossible not to smile as the performers couldn’t hide their enjoyment, smiling and dancing at Al’s magnificent guitar solo. The performance was a perfect finale to a fabulous concert.
Watch the performances back here.