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    'Lest we forget' - St Cecilia Concert

    A tribute to the Fallen through music.


    Bishop Ramsey Church of England School held its annual St Cecilia Concert on Thursday 20th November, 2014. The evening is held to honour St Cecilia’s day, the patroness of musicians. This year the theme of the concert programme was ‘Lest We Forget’, incorporating reflections and music to commemorate the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

    The M.C. for the evening was Elisha Zadok who introduced each piece fluently providing information about the students and the music for the audience.

    Appropriately, the concert opened with the Orchestra playing Gustav Holst’s ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ accompanied by poignant images of the war and its victims displayed on the big screen.

    The mood was then completely changed by the Wind Band which consisted  of many  younger members of the school, many performing for the first time in public. They played ‘Let It Go’ from the popular Disney animation ‘Frozen’.

    The Junior Choir of nearly 30 members also entertained the audience with a song from ‘Frozen’, this time ‘Love Is an Open Door’. In complete contrast their second piece, was Jessie J’s ‘Price Tag’ where they sang and swayed, something our M.C told us they had practiced  hard to get right.

    The ever entertaining Jazz Band proved very popular with their renditions of the haunting ‘Autumn Leaves’ followed by the Louis Armstrong popular classic ‘What A Wonderful World’. Both pieces were exquisitely played.

    The first half of the concert concluded with Duncan Stubbs ’Keep the Faith’. This is a modern piece written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and includes the poem by Moina Michael, ‘We will keep the faith’ which was read by Mr Britton, Head of Religious Education.

    The second act opened with the Brass Band playing the moving ‘Abide with Me’ and ‘Last Post’. The hymn is frequently sung at Remembrance services in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, and on sporting occasions.  The beautifully played poignant sound of the last post evoked memories of past and future conflicts, an implied summoning of the spirits of the Fallen to the cenotaph while symbolising the end of the day.

    The senior choir then sang two diverse pieces. The large group of singers began with the modern ‘Fix You’ a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay.  In contrast they then sang the popular ‘Bring Him Home’ from the long running musical ‘Les Miserables’. This was an unusual performance as the song is well known as a solo performance but this group piece demonstrated the various voice groups and the difficult piece was well disciplined.

    Andrei Anghel then played ‘Praeludium’ and ‘Allegro’ by Fritz Kriesler. This Year 9 gifted and talented performer had the audience spellbound with his remarkable violin solo.

    The Sinfonia was led by two 6th form student leaders David Ide and Katie Stronell. They entertained with three appropriate pieces for the centenary concert starting with the ‘Marching Song’ by Gustave Holst, then the well known ‘Nimrod’ from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Their final piece was more modern. ‘21 Guns’ is a song by American rock band Green Day and addresses the topic of patriotism, and the 21 gun salute for someone that’s fallen but through rock ‘n’ roll.

    The Jazz Band returned for their second performance playing 3 pieces starting with a delightful rendition of the award winning ballad ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ from ‘The Wizard of Oz’. In complete contrast their second piece was the 12 bar minor blues ‘Mr PC’ by John Coltrane. This jazz classic was ably played by the entire band encompassing saxophone, piano, drums and guitar. Their final piece was the Stevie Wonder classic ‘Isn’t She Lovely’.

    During the evening A Level Soloists Cherilyn Panganiban (guitar) , James Willett (saxophone), Thomas Hullyer (piano) , and Daniel Brown (saxophone) superbly  demonstrated their skills  and different music styles on their chosen instruments . These exquisite performances were all very enjoyable and demonstrated the different genres and styles they have studied.

    The evening concluded with two beautiful compositions played by the Concert Band. Both pieces complimented the theme of war and remembrance. Firstly ‘Codebreaker’ by Robert Buckley was in the compelling style of classic spy music entering the world of intrigue and espionage. The effective orchestration and the playing of the complex score was excellent and transported the audience to the Second World War and the world of Bletchley Park.

    The final piece was ‘Songs of the Great War’. This selection comprised a medley of well known and not so well known songs sung and heard during the First World War many of which are still sung. The collection included ‘Goodbyee’, ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’, ‘Tipperary’, ‘Oh What A Lovely War’, ‘It’s a Long Long Road’ and ‘If you were the only girl in the world’ amongst many others. Many of the audience’s feet were tapping along with this great performance. The piece ended with the compelling ‘Last Post’ bringing thoughts and memories of the fallen to those present as well as our thanks.

    Mr Wilcock congratulated everyone involved remarking on the talent and variety of the evening. He also introduced and welcomed the School’s 3 visitors from Malosa School in Malawi who were on a short visit to Bishop Ramsey School.  Nelson Mwale, the Head of Malosa School; Howard Nasoro, the School Chaplain and Maths Teacher Macpherson Ndawala enjoyed the concert and congratulated the students and teachers on their excellent performances.

    The theme of Wallace and Gromit was then played as a fitting encore to a fabulous concert.

    Congratulations to all the students involved and to Mrs Neale and Mr Cullum for organising the evening.


    Miss E Neal, Senior Librarian