Bede's Pupils Dazzle at Music Recitals


This term has seen Bede's musicians take to the stage for a host of inspiring music recitals and performances.

The School’s Jazz Band, led by Roy Hilton and Simon Savage, and directed by Robert Scamardella, Bede’s Director of Music, led an Evening of Jazz in the Recital Room. The Latin theme led the audience around Latin America and Spain and took everyone on a rhythm-filled musical journey. The Recital Room (pictured above) was transformed into a jazz café, a place to celebrate jazz in its many forms and relax on an early summer evening.

Next up was the annual Bede's Young Musician of the Year 2019 final concert. Fifty parents and friends of the School were treated to two wonderful recitals by First Year Charleston pupils Tiana Coley and Grace Watkins. We were delighted to welcome Stephen Williams, Director of Music at Bryanston School, as adjudicator (pictured below with Tiana and Grace).


Mr Williams is an experienced music educationalist and commented on the quality and technical preparation of both Tiana and Grace. Both girls performed a captivating programme of repertoire ranging from Bach to Lutosławski. In the end, Grace Watkins was selected as overall winner, after what was a very difficult decision. However, both girls will be fortunate enough to enjoy tickets to hear Sheku Kaneh-Mason at the 2019 BBC Proms and the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Finally, on the last Wednesday before Half Term, we were treated to an outstanding Leavers' Recital based on the theme, 'Music for a Summer's Evening'. Mrs Pendry, who organised the event, says, "The opportunity to celebrate the musical achievements of any group of Bede’s pupils is always a wonderful occasion, and this year’s Leavers’ Concert was no exception. The wealth of talent and expertise demonstrated by the pupils in this cohort of Upper Sixth Leavers showed that they have truly been an outstanding year.

"The concert opened with Matthew Grant on solo guitar performing Toru Takemitsu’s evocative arrangement of Harold Arlen’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow, followed by Nina Simone’s I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free. Matt also accompanied Nathalie Grimston singing Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean later in the concert, and it comes as no surprise that this gifted musician is heading for Leeds College of Music in the Autumn.

"Like Nathalie, Meghan Longden has particularly enjoyed singing popular music, and she entertained the audience with two marvellous examples from stage musicals: Shallow from A Star Is Born and On My Own from Les Miserables. Nathalie also performed Where It Started From with Jan Apolin later in the programme, offering a really sensitive interpretation. Rosa Marks sang the beautiful aria 'Porgi Amor' from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, as well as performing the Adagio from Saint-Saëns’ Oboe Sonata.  A more classical style was also celebrated in Imogen Lock’s performances of Hugo Wolf’s ‘Verborgenheit’ (from Mörikelieder) and Roger Quilter’s Love’s Philosophy, showcasing her brilliant soprano range as well as her growing confidence as a performer.

"The grand finale to the concert was performed by a group of students: Conor Woodbridge and Oliver Prosper (who, like Matt are heading for the Leeds College of Music in September) with Jan Apolin and Germain Eriksen, who together performed Easy by The Commodores.  It was a brilliant conclusion to the evening, which demonstrated the range of styles which the pupils have cultivated throughout their time at Bede’s. Taking part in this celebration of their musical achievements shows how generous these pupils have been in giving their time and talents to Bede’s Music, and we wish them every success in the future."

Next up, we will be hosting a joint symphonic and gala concert on Monday 24 June at 6pm between the Orchestra, Jazz Band and Chamber Choir at Bede’s and the Sussex County Youth Orchestra, New Jersey, USA. The concert will be held at St. Saviour’s Church, Eastbourne and will include works by Handel, Shostakovich, Puccini, Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Rutter, Leroy Anderson and Johann Strauss.

As many of you already know, Bede’s association with the SCYO goes back twenty years, when in 1999 one of my predecessors, Andrew Barclay (who will also be conducting a piece at the concert), took a large group out to visit New Jersey performing at New York’s iconic Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Centre Plaza. Indeed, I was a pupil at the time and enjoyed the most wonderful musical experience and hospitality. Ten years ago, the Music Department undertook a similar project where lifelong friendships and allegiances were made.

In order to secure your place at the concert at St. Saviour’s Church, which is free of charge to attend and is expected to last just over one hour, please email or telephone 01323 356606.

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