Old Palace School, private school, croydon, fairfield halls, whitgift foundation, vaughan williams, orchestra, strings, faure, requiem, maggini quartet, gareth hemmings, star wars, calvin harris

School lifted the roof of the Fairfield Halls with celebration concert to remember on 18 March.

Over 300 musicians from Old Palace of John Whitgift School, ranging from Reception to Year 13 and including parents and alumnae, took part in the performance that brought an evening of musical excellence to Fairfield Halls.

Choral and orchestral recitals were interspersed with flute solos and the ever popular steel pans in a packed programme of modern and classical songs including the theme tune to 'Star Wars', 'Love is in the air' (Harry Vanda and George Young) and 'Dangerous' (Calvin Harris).

The youngest members of the school community opened the concert with a fitting and heart-warming performance of Paul Field's ‘We’re so proud of our school’. Sung by the Lower Preparatory choir, the youngest performer was just four years old.

The String Orchestra and the Maggini Quartet, the internationally renowned chamber ensemble, gave a moving and mesmerising performance of 'Concerto Grosso' by Ralph Vaughan Williams. They have been the Old Palace quartet-in-residence for eight years and they visit the school 3-4 times a year to work on various projects devised by Director of Music at Old Palace, Gareth Hemmings.

The concert finale was a breath taking performance of Gabriel Fauré's 'Requiem Op. 48' by Senior Choir, Staff Choir, Polyphonic, Years 6-8 Choir, Preparatory Polyphonic, String Orchestra, the Maggini Quartet and a Soprano solo from Bonnie Callaghan. This piece of music was an exceptional ending to an evening of outstanding musical endeavour. 

Gareth Hemmings, Director of Music, Old Palace School, commented: “We are tremendously proud of the musical heritage of Old Palace School and of the hard work that the girls all put into their music day in and day out throughout the year.  The concert was a true demonstration of the rich and diverse musical achievements of the school’s young musicians.  

“We have a wonderful team of musicians working with the girls to inspire and encourage them, and our continued relationship with groups such as the Maggini Quartet, are an essential part of our musical provision for all our girls at school. It may be a cliché to say that music is a universal language but its inclusive nature is truly celebrated at Old Palace and to involve all the members of the school community for the 125th celebration made the occasion all the more special.”

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