A Round-Up of Music

Read the latest from the Music Department

And so the drive to Christmas begins! This is always such a special time of the year; the Christmas tree goes up in Chapel, the sound of carols emanates from the Chapel and the RVW and the faint whiff of the end-of-term festivities brings joy to the campus like no other time of the year. You may even get the odd waft of mince pie and mulled wine from some corners of the school. Over in the RVW, Christmas bells have been ringing with a huge number of performances keeping pupils and staff busy.

Lunchtime Recitals have flourished in the second half of term and the Brass Quintet rolled out some lovely numbers last week – the Berkeley Fanfare is always a great opener but this was followed by the most serene arrangement, by our very own Mr Ryan Linham, of Fauré’s Pie Jesu. Later on in the week, we heard the return of the Junior Jazz Band. A positive development this term has been the increased influx of musicians at either end of the School, allowing for more junior ensembles to form. The Band delighted us with a very recognisable Hedwig’s Theme, with a number of musicians performing for the first time at Charterhouse. Many thanks indeed to Ms Ali Nightingale for resurrecting this group and getting the band onto the concert stage already – it was a delight to see and hear.

On Tuesday 30 November we had the Jazz Concert and, under the watchful eye and baton of Head of Woodwind Mr Corkin, this was a thoroughly enjoyable, foot-tapping evening of jazz standards and American big band classics. Jazz Band, with new vocalists Aomi Hiroi (Year 12) and Lauren Stewart (Year 12), were the main event of the evening but very ably supported by performances from the sax quartet and Taki Ejima-Dalley’s improvising fingers at the piano.

Chapel Choir finished the week with two hauntingly beautiful performances of the ever-popular Candlelit Carols in the candlelit Chapel, with the Christmas tree glowing and flickering in the Sanctuary corner. This is always such a highlight in the Charterhouse year and, having missed the concert last year, it was all the more special to have a return to this most special of occasions. Conducted by Mr Sutton, Chapel Choir, who only formed at the start of this Quarter (Covid more or less disbanded this ensemble the past two years), performed with musicality, ensemble and enjoyment. Repertoire was a delightful mix of new carols and old favourites, but certainly delighted the near packed out Chapel each evening. There were some beautiful solos from Felicia Freeman (Year 12) and Hattie Palmer (Year 13) amongst others, with notable contributions from a host of others. As ever, Father Clive and his team of readers punctuated the service with Christmas tales. Watch a recording of the event here. Enjoy looking through more photos from the evening below.

This week sees the Carol Services for the School, though the Parents’ Carol Service and Christmas Concert. Once again, Chapel Choir took to the stalls but were this time also joined by the newly formed Junior Chapel Choir. The two choirs together, directed by Mr Shepherd and Mr Sutton, offered a delightful service of carols and anthems, alternating with readings of the Christmas story. This was a momentous and unique occasion for Charterhouse – the coming together of two Chapel Choirs for a major service in Chapel. The Christmas Concert followed in Hall with performances by the Chamber Orchestra, Senior String Quartet, Senior Sax Quartet and a handful of solo performances. A huge variety of repertoire was on show, with everything from a Mariah Carey arrangement, through a Vivaldi Concerto right up to Hindemith’s extraordinary Sonata for Bassoon and Piano, played masterfully by Horace Choi (Year 13) and Mr Clive Williamson. Many thanks indeed to Head of Strings, Mr Rafael Bolivar, for coordinating many of the ensembles and to all the performers on the night, particularly those that performed all day in Carol Service and Concert!

What a term this has been, a huge bravo to all pupils and staff who have worked tirelessly to keep music at Charterhouse maintain its high standards and continue to delight audiences all Quarter. Happy Christmas everyone!