Summer Serenade XXVII

As a culmination of Music Week at 麻豆视频社区' the Summer Serenade, despite the weather is a chance to celebrate all the musicians at Taylors' and to ring in the summer with a bang!

Of the several lost traditions of 麻豆视频社区鈥 which are worth reviving, perhaps the unusual position of the Monitors鈥 and Prompters鈥 tables in Assembly would be the most interesting. Or perhaps the reintroduction of the Head Monitor鈥檚 Latin Speech at St Barnabas鈥 Day? Or possibly more frequent wearing of academic dress? Reader, though these are noble thoughts, the subject of this article concerns one of the more recent traditions, begun in the 1990s, and continued until 2016. This is none other than the Summer Serenade. The concert was described by one satisfied parent as a 鈥渟uperb concert鈥 with 鈥渁 smorgasbord of different styles鈥. Tuesday鈥檚 event was the twenty-seventh such occasion, and, true to form, was a wonderful celebration of all the musical accomplishments of the past year.

Weather forecasts are deceptive. Two national institutions, the Met Office and the BBC, proffered strongly contrasting opinions; experience proposed a third, and when Tuesday morning dawned after a slumber of crepuscular hue, the sages of the Music Department convened. In a scene reminiscent of the Bard鈥檚 Macbeth, a call had to be made. Would we believe the murmurs of the forecasters, or would we have hope? The decision, which was not taken lightly, was that the entirety of the concert would take place inside. Furious scrambling around ensured that this was sorted and that parents were informed in good time.

The music began at roughly seven o鈥檆lock with Benjamin Britten鈥檚 鈥楩anfare for St Edmundsbury鈥, played from the gallery. This was followed by the Dixieland Band who, fresh from their splendid performances at last week鈥檚 Jazz Night, performed marvellously. They were followed by the Chamber Choir, who sang two Victorian part songs, 鈥楢s Torrents in Summer鈥 and 鈥楾he Long Day Closes鈥. The words of the second were more apt than the former. These items were followed by Taylors鈥 Funk Society, who played no funk, and I think never have. False advertising aside, they played rather well. Owing to a change of circumstances, the performance by the music staff of Ernst Toch鈥檚 鈥楪eographical Fugue鈥 was tacitly omitted. In previous incarnations of the Summer Serenade, leaving members of staff have performed solos. With a stalwart member of the bass section leaving this year to study for a PGCE at Cambridge, classicist Jude Hedges-Robinson took to the stage to perform an aria from Mozart鈥檚 鈥楧on Giovanni鈥. The Big Band played two pieces to close the first half.

The interval was an opportunity to make use of the ice cream van which had been brought in. The bar, which was expertly manned by Miss Solomon and Messrs Herring and Wells, was doing a roaring trade of Pimm鈥檚, Prosecco, wine, and assorted soft beverages. The catering staff were in charge of strawberries. We were blessed by some fine weather, and the interval was passed outside in the Inner Quad.

The first half of the concert ran perfectly to time, and the second half began at the time appointed. It began with a lusty performance from the whole of the Third Form who, having played Shakespeare鈥檚 鈥楢 Midsummer Night鈥檚 Dream鈥 last week, performed two songs. Next came Mr Tonks and his Concert Band. As ever, their performance was enchanting. Percussion Ensemble always delivers an exciting performance, and Tuesday was no exception. Under the direction of Miss Martin, Wind Band played Rick Astley鈥檚 鈥楴ever Gonna Give You Up鈥, a foot-tapping number with enduring appeal.

Bedecked with resplendent pink garnishes, the Barbie Dolls performed 鈥楳ister Sandman鈥, accompanied by lively percussion and piano. They were followed by Sinfonia, who played a medley of popular hits from the James Bond franchise. The penultimate ensemble of the concert was the School Choir. Numbering around seventy, they performed three contrasting pieces, firstly a medley of songs from 鈥榃est Side Story鈥. The second song was the 鈥楥horus of the Hebrew Slaves鈥 from Verdi鈥檚 Nabucco. The final song, which was performed with a new orchestration by Mr Hill featuring swanee whistle, was Flanders and Swann鈥檚 鈥楾he Hippopotamus鈥. Regrettably since the previous Summer Serenade, the fashion for performing certain well-known songs has become problematic, and this light-hearted number gave the audience an opportunity to join in with the chorus. Hearty singing from the stalls was heard from Isaac Taylor-Cummings (OMT 2023), as well as from the guests of the Head Master.

The musical element of the concert closed with Bizet鈥檚 鈥楲鈥橝rl茅sienne Suite No. 1鈥. On last year鈥檚 Chamber Choir tour the musicians visited the beautiful city of Arles in the south of France, and it was wonderful to be able to perform this music having visited the location after which it is called. Thank yous were offered, and the evening was brought to a close with some fireworks which were expertly set off by the incoming Head of Chemicals, Mr Talboys.

We hope that you will be able to join us for concerts in the next academic year, details of which are available in the Music Calendar.

Other News