Event Review: Leavers' Concert Tugs The Heart Strings


Photographs taken during rehearsals.


On the 18 May, an audience of pupils, staff and Sussex locals filled the Recital Room to the rafters for the annual Leavers’ Recital.

Always a poignant time of year for the Music department, the event is staged to say farewell to those Upper Sixth musicians who have added richness, diversity and quality to the musical life of Bede’s during their time at the School.


First up, the ever polite, caring and tenacious, Julia Mayer played ‘Sonata for Flute’ by Poulenc with genuine virtuosity before Szofia Lindsay-Macdougall took to the stage; a multi-faceted musician and highly creative person, Szofia’s played ‘Watching the Wheat’ by John Thomas on her harp and left the room in a stunned silence.


After the Chamber Choir had performed ‘Love’s Philosophy’ by Alexander L’Estrange and ‘And So It Goes’ by Billy Joel arr. by Bob Chilcott, the third leaver stepped up to perform: multi-instrumentalist Grace Longden, who has delivered exceptional dramatic and musical performances during her time in the Sixth Form, gave a rendition of James Brown’s ‘It’s a Man’s World’ that was powerful and moving.


Pianist Ben Stannard followed, playing ‘Piano Sonata in G, Op. 79 (2nd movement)’ by Beethoven with discipline and style, and was succeeded by Emile Epifanoff and myself playing ‘Sonata in B flat, K. 358’ by Mozart in a crowd-pleasing duet.


The extraordinary James Cuxson next wowed the audience with his rendition of ‘Gymnopédie No.1 (arranged for solo guitar)’ by Erik Satie – a performance which underlined his talent and how much he will be missed.


Prodigiously talented singer Hannah Roberts then had all in attendance on the edge of their seats with a performance of ‘Stay With Me’ by Stephen Sondheim.

The penultimate performance came care of Jonathan ‘Jonny’ Connell, the most exceptional jazz pianist in the School’s recent history. He performed ‘Nameless’ – a piece that he himself had composed – before he was joined by James Cuxson for a final, toe-tapping performance of ‘King Cockroach’ by Chick Corea.


We thank all of the performers for sharing their talents with us one last time, and of course wish them every success as they embark on the next chapter in their lives. You will be missed!


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