12 Mar 2014

Playing to a packed house the Concert Orchestra kicked off Farlington’s Spring Concert proceedings with a rousing Rondo from a Concerto by Dussek. Soloist Janet Yeung impressed us again with her controlled and fluent piano-playing, and Anne Stearns conducted sensitively, coaxing a fully layered and dynamic performance from the girls. Tchaikovsky’s Waltz from ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was given new life by the string orchestra, whose leader Rebecca Arnold continues to show exemplary confidence.

What was so enjoyable about the evening was the range of material on show, and this was clearly evident in the Glee Choir’s performance of the popular Keane track ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, which really harnessed the energy of the singers and dancers. Mention must also be given to Year 11’s Charlotte Mills for her superb choreography, ably assisted by Charlie Ghazi and Rosy Bebb-Davis, also from Year 11.

A further contrast was the melodious Flute Choir, led by Poppy Maunder and coached by Felicity Goodsir, giving a sprightly and delicate rendering of a Vivace by Clementi. There then followed the rousing stomp of Peter Howland’s Samba Band, whose original piece ‘Samba’ did exactly what it said on the tin and got toes tapping. Following this, the Junior Choir conducted by Olivia Middleton, sang with confidence and delivered a spirited ‘Breaking Free’ from ‘High School Musical’.

Also in this section, the Guitar Ensemble, led by Summer Raemason, played a gentle rendition of ‘Edelwiess’ from ‘The Sound of Music’; and SKATZ! – directed by Jane Thomas –  brought the first half to an exciting close with a tender ‘Annie’s Song’ followed by a glamorous take on ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’, with accompanying jewellery (!) and taut choreography by Sixth Form student Jessica Clarke.

The second half of the concert featured two production previews: the Prep School’s ‘Olivia!’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ from the Senior School. Both created a palpable excitement amongst the audience and the promise of great things to come. Elsewhere, the training orchestra had us reaching for the air drums with the EastEnders theme tune, energetically conducted by Paula Streeter. Aristoskatz soothed with Carole King’s classic ‘Killing Me Softly’, the rock band rocked with a version of ‘Bad Blood’ by Bastille, and Razzmajazz locked tightly into a very smooth groove for a distinctly funky performance of ‘Night Run’ by Eddie Harvey, again led by Anne Stearns.

In a style which has become a welcome tradition, Jane Thomas and Farlingtonic brought the evening to a close with two contrasting pieces: ‘The Londonderry Air’ which was melancholic and tender and an ‘Is This the Way to Amarillo?’ complete with audience participation and actions, although thankfully without treadmills from which to plummet! The evening was a great success and a special mention must go to Anne Stearns and Jane Thomas who always coordinate a wonderful and varied event.

Mark Slawinski