Whitgift School, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Old Palace, Royal Festival Hall, Philip Winter, Ronny Krippner, Tchaikovsky, Elmhurst School, Croydon Minster

Whitgift teams up with Old Palace choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Whitgift School's Lent term culminated in an outstanding orchestral and choral performance in the world-renowned Royal Festival Hall, one which truly raises the bar for school-level productions. In partnership with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and featuring multiple Whitgift ensembles, alongside local Croydon choirs from Old Palace of John Whitgift School, Elmhurst School and the Croydon Minster, the concert exceeded all expectations, and showed off the very best that Whitgift has to offer. The venue was thronged with parents, staff and distinguished guests, including His Royal Highness The Duke of York, KG.

The evening started with a rousing rendition of the first bars of the national anthem, in honour of the School’s Royal Patron, followed by a sharp, sincere display of Howarth’s Processional Fanfare, by the Whitgift Senior Brass. The formidable 70-strong ensemble, under the expert direction of Miss Lorraine Temple, went on to perform the specially-arranged Overture to ‘William Tell’, which charged the hall with one of the greatest crescendos of the concert.

This exhilarating opening was followed by a more sombre and emotional performance of Glazunov’s Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82, led by soloist and winner of the inaugural Whitgift International Music Competition 2013, Dan-Iulian Druțac. The Sixth Former had the great honour of performing on a 1696 Stradivarius violin, lent to the School by Andrew Bernardi, Professorial Staff at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance. Dan-Iulian demonstrated his remarkable skill, leading the massed ranks of the Whitgift Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and delivering his solo with great aplomb.

The first half closed with a selection from Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary, by Karl Jenkins, performed by the collective Whitgift Massed Choir, the Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs of Croydon Minster, the choirs of Elmhurst School and Old Palace of John Whitgift School. A highlight for anyone associated with Whitgift, was the moving Adiemus, which features in the School’s promotional video, and was particularly poignant and powerful being sung by the 300-strong choir, led by Mrs Rosanna Whitfield.

The second half was opened by the Whitgift Chamber Choir, the Choirs of Croydon Minster and the Whitgift-Minster Choral Society, working alongside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Whitgift Brass and Percussion Ensemble. Mr Ronny Krippner, Director of Choral Music, led them in crystal crisp I Was Glad by Parry (arr. Walton), followed by Coronation Te Deum by Walton (arr. Naylor).

Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 was a fitting finale to the concert. The combined Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Whitgift Chamber Orchestra, with Mr Philip Winter conducting, took the audience on an emotional journey. After months of collaboration between hundreds of pupils and the dedicated team of staff, the roar of the applause was an uplifting conclusion to a truly memorable evening.

 

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