Whitgift students collaborate with the London Myriad Ensemble for a day of music making.
At the beginning of October, Whitgift hosted professional wind quintet, the London Myriad Ensemble (LME), for a day of music-making with the whole of the Lower First Form, consisting of morning workshops and culminating in an evening concert.
Together with the LME and Whitgift’s Graduate Music Assistants (GMAs), boys worked in groups to compose incidental music to Edward Lear’s The Duck and the Kangaroo poem, building on what they had learnt during the term’s course on programme music. Each group was allocated two sections of the poem to write music to, with an array of instruments at their disposal, including djembes, guitars, trombones, saxophones, glockenspiels and percussion. After a brief performance by the LME, and an introduction by the performers to the instruments of the wind quintet, the boys spent the morning creating kangaroo jumping sounds, duck quacks and other sound effects to bring the story to life. To conclude the workshop, they learned a song composed especially by Choral Scholar, Mr Liam Connery.
The LME, which features Whitgift’s Head of Woodwind, Ms Fiona Myall, started the concert with Saint-Saëns’s The Carnival of the Animals, a series of miniature pieces depicting various animals, interspersed with Mr Paul Wilson’s sparkling readings of Ogden Nash’s accompanying verses (as well as his dancing in the spirited finale!). This was followed by Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, a symphonic fairy tale for children, for which the players donned eye-catching animal masks. Mr Wilson once again narrated the well-known verse. After the interval, the entire Lower First Form gathered on stage and performed the world première of Mr Connery’s The Duck and the Kangaroo, with Mr Wilson lending his voice for the poem recital.
Ms Rosanna Whitfield, Whitgift’s Director of Music, commented, “A huge thanks to all the staff involved, especially to the LME for sharing their expertise with the boys and making the day one to remember.”