The pupils had worked hard rehearsing a varied selection of seasonal music and readings, including the school choir of 50 pupils, the orchestra, a staff choir and a number of smaller instrumental ensembles and vocal soloists. The concert was very well-attended with standing room only remaining. It was led and conducted by Grace Leyman (Music Subject Leader), who said she was “delighted with the commitment, effort and enthusiasm shown by all pupils involved, working together to produce a thoroughly festive, quality performance”.
The evening was introduced by the Reverend Jonathan Watkins who also gave an address and led the prayers later in the service. Highlights included the candlelit opening to ‘Once in Royal David’s City, led by soloist Sarah Brett; a beautiful tear-inducing rendition of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Sophie Yates, with choir backing; and the ever popular finale to the concert in which all participants took part in Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ led by soloist Freya Cavill. Other notable highlights were a jazz-influenced cover of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ performed by GCSE musicians Josh Toze (alto sax) and Felix Hammer (cornet) and an energetic rendition of Natalie Sleeth’s ‘Jazz Gloria’ by the school choir.
The audience participated enthusiastically in the selection of traditional Carols, accompanied by the church organist Dawn Williams and the school orchestra. All proceeds from the evening are being donated to Test Valley School’s chosen Christmas charity Save The Children.