Winter Concert at St John’s Smith Square

Wednesday 27th November marked one of Ardingly College’s most ambitious musical endeavours to date. Over 100 students, accompanied by a troupe of teachers and professional musicians, ventured to the magnificent London concert venue St John’s Smith Square to perform the college’s Winter Concert. The event was to be a colossal achievement, regardless of the impressive musical performances, due to its challenging repertoire and the sheer number of students involved.

The evening opened with Vaughan Williams’ setting of the Welsh hymn Rhosymedre, played by the String ensemble, conducted by Mr Jack Thompson. The piece was performed with grace and aptitude by the strings and set a pleasant atmosphere in the packed hall. The beautiful and seamless hymn melody soared through the texture as the pupils played with nuance and feeling.
The central item of the first half was Rutter’s Requiem, a work that required the massed efforts of Ardingly’s Chapel Choir and Prep Chamber Choir, accompanied by a chamber orchestra. Conducted by Mr Richard Stafford, the Requiem showcased the incredible work done by the college’s students, both in the choir and in the accompanying chamber orchestra. This was an extremely moving performance as the audience were transported through numerous emotions from the melancholy and yearning of the opening movements through to the hope effaced in the Lux Aeterna. A special congratulations should be given to the two soloists, Laura Crooks and Eithne Yates-Kneen, who delivered professional and emotionally astute performances of Pie Jesu and Lux Aeterna respectively.
The second half of the night featured Dvorak’s Eighth symphony performed by the college symphony orchestra directed by Mr Stafford. It was an incredible feat to pull off such a difficult piece of canonical classical repertoire, and the orchestra should be applauded for an exciting and dramatic performance of the symphony. The diligence, discipline and skill of the musicians was evident as the differing characters of each movements were carried off with aplomb. The orchestra rightfully earned themselves a standing ovation and left the stage with beaming smiles.
A wonderful success, we will return to deliver the Winter Concert at St John Smith Square in November 2020 and are hugely excited to perform once again at this prestigious venue. Once again, well done to everyone involved and thank you for your support in this, rather epic, project.

Recordings of the evening’s music alongside photos can be found below.