A variety of polished performances and £2500 raised at the Royal Hospital School’s show-piece Charity Concert

19 Mar 2014

The Royal Hospital School recently held their annual show-piece Charity Gala Concert in the School Chapel. Every one of the School’s major ensembles performed, giving a varied programme of classical and jazz, sacred and secular, choral and instrumental.

The Concert raised £2500 for four charities supported by the School; St Helena’s Hospice in Colchester, Ipswich Mencap, the self-help organisation for cancer patients, Odyssey and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine Patient Welfare Fund.

The Chapel Choir opened proceedings with rousing readings of Haydn’s The Heavens are telling the Glory of God and Balfour Gardiner’s much loved Evening Hymn, separated by Philip Moore’s moving It is a thing most wonderful. The Choir sang these three favourites musically and with great aplomb. The Orchestra followed, led as ever by the inimitable Roger Jones, with Clarke’s Prince of Denmark’s March and a hilarious Best of the Beatles medley.

After this came a new venture: The Nyman Band, consisting of the Royal Hospital School’s successful National Youth Choir applicants and a handpicked chamber orchestra, who performed If, from The Diary of Anne Frank, which was a welcome contrast and an opportunity for reflection.

The first half of the concert closed with the newly-reformed Chamber Choir, directed by Alice Reidy. This ensemble, the School’s choral elite, sang the famous Bogoroditse Devo from Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, followed in total contrast by a jazzy arrangement of Feeling Good. The Choir was entirely unaccompanied throughout and their keen ensemble singing and focused, natural sound took many a breath away.

The upbeat second half saw David Bolton conduct the Jazz Band in two stylish and exciting numbers. The mood created was lively taken up by the new Show Choir, with Alice Reidy once again at the helm, with a deliciously funky début performance of Blame it on the Boogie. The concert closed with the ever-popular Concert Band and Corps of Drums performing the Colonel Bogey March with impressive precision and panache, and finishing with a medley of tunes from the hit show Chicago.

The large audience was treated to a polished and varied concert rewarding the performers with tumultuous applause.