Year 7 Informal Concert

The Year 7 boys at Elstree are not a bunch of shrinking violets, and this was very much in evidence at the Year 7 Informal Concert. It was a rumbustious concert with a volume and a joie-de-vivre that were palpable. The Year 7 performers seemed calm and controlled, even when things went a bit astray, and they looked like they were enjoying their performances; their audience certainly appreciated their talent and enthusiasm.

To start with the end, Oscar gathered a crowd from around the school as he thrashed the drum-kit through ‘Teacher’s Pet’ from ‘School of Rock’. He whirled around his drumsticks and he was spot-on the beat; his performance was electrifying and it’s not surprise that people outside the Long Room were attracted in to listen.

We had started with a fair degree of volume; it seems, to this Sassenach at least, that the bagpipes cannot be played quietly. Harry played ‘Bonny Dundee’ at a fast and furious pace note-perfectly, and then he cropped up again with his trumpet to play ‘Coranto’, showing his advanced skill on that instrument as well; his handling of the trills and his accuracy and tuning were impressive.

There were quieter pieces. The ‘cello is not a loud instrument, and it was lovely to hear two of them playing in juxtaposition through ‘The Final Countdown’ by ‘Europe’ – a Number 1 hit from 1986. I have never heard the piece played on two ‘cellos before, although I knew the song well from student days and it was interesting to hear this modern take on such a well-known tune.

Also the pianists, Edward, Charlie and Rohan, played gently but with panache through the James Bond Theme, ‘Jupiter’ and Charpentier’s ‘Prelude’ respectively. This was followed by Peter’s  performance of ‘Forcing the Pace’ which put the Long Room grand piano through its paces. It seemed as if every note got an outing as he moved around the keyboard so rapidly and with such a jazzy rhythm and feel. The audience were spell-bound by his extraordinary playing.

There was a first at this concert – the first timpani solo played by Hamish in his performance of the finale of the ‘William Tell’ overture by Rossini, better known to many as the theme tune to the ‘Lone Ranger’.  It was also an inaugural outing for a 1930s duo of Algy (voice) and Nick (drums) with Mrs Westley on the piano, as they brought us ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’, with the mood of a smoke-filled 1930s nightclub that that song engenders.

Having been transported to the 1930s and the 1980s at various stages, the audience were then taken to the 1960s by ‘Chasing Stars’, a group made up of ACTI (introducer), Charlie (piano), Hamish (drums) and Ben (lead singer) who performed ‘Dance With Me Tonight’ by Olly Murs. This was another foot-tapping number that enchanted the audience and it is good to see boys forming their own groups and clearly enjoying making music together.

ACTI congratulated the Year 7 boys for entertaining us all so royally. I noted that they had finished spot-on the end of Rest at 2:20pm which bodes well for their punctuality when they become Year 8 and lead the school.  We need have no worries that the standard of music of Elstree is in danger when this year group reach the top of the school next September. They are clearly a very talented bunch, and we will all look forward to their next concert.