Senior students from King Edward VI School took the stage in the latest 2018 Winter/Spring Series of Lunchtime Concerts at St George’s United Reformed Church, Morpeth.
Their appearance has become an annual event and this year the concert was performed entirely by vocalists and the Chamber Choir.
Opening the proceedings was young baritone William Brown, who sang Music for a While by Purcell, Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal by Quilter, and the old favourite Ol’ Man River by Kern.
His pleasant and gentle tone was a feature and he possessed a good range.
His performance of Ol’ Man River was particularly impressive and he showed great promise for a boy of 16.
Mezzo soprano Alice Oakey followed with three songs from shows, Adelaide’s Lament by Loesser, Send In The Clowns by Sondheim, and I’d Give My Life For You by Schonberg.
She showed a stage presence and acting ability perfectly suited to the musical theatre.
Her performance was full of feeling and had total empathy for the various moods of the music.
No performance by King Edward students is complete without the Chamber Choir and it followed with three pieces, Hail Smiling Morn by Spofford, and two modern compositions, Africa and Mad World.
The first was bright and confident, with excellent balance and running passages most accurate and concise. Africa showed fine attention to detail and accurate timing and was a most impressive performance of a difficult composition.
In Mad World the mixed quartet of Miriam Cummings, Bryony Lane, Aidan Campbell and Oscar Ho sang beautifully and were backed up superbly by the rest of the choir.
Throughout the three songs the choir had total togetherness, excellent tone and outstanding use of dynamics. This was a great musical performance by a choir of huge talent, trained to a very high standard by Heather Harrison.
Tenor Alistair McCubbin made his second appearance at a Lunchtime Concert with three songs by British composers.
The Vagabond and Silent Noon by Vaughan Williams are contrasting pieces. The robust and strident former contrasted strongly with the lovely melody of the latter.
Alistair sang both with confidence, rich tonal quality and good use of light and shade.
The Quilter song, Come Away Death, was convincing, with some lovely legato phrases.
Alistair’s voice has matured considerably since his last appearance and his performance was impressive.
Three songs from the shows by soprano Olivia Byrom brought the concert to its finale.
In her singing of Somewhere That’s Green by Menken, All That Jazz by Kander and Defying Gravity by Schwartz, Olivia showed a vitality and verve most essential in these modern songs.
Like Alice, her stage presence and voice were most suited to her choice of programme and she brought the concert to an exciting and energetic conclusion.
Mention must be made of the accompanists whose job in many of these songs proved to be exacting and technically demanding.
Robin Forbes, Head of the Music Department, and Sarah Gordon Robinson more than met the challenge, giving excellent support to all the vocalists.
The next Lunchtime Concert is at 12.30pm on Wednesday, March 14.
It will feature three very fine musicians, Isabella Thorneycroft (flute), Nick Byrne (cello) and Alison Gill (piano) in a varied programme.