"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
BE OUR GUEST!
Junior Music Festival
still clearly recall my first schools' choir festival. Conducted by
the formidable Dr WH Swinburne, with local
celebrity, Gielgud's first Juliet,
Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies the guest of honour.
sixty years ago, now. Hard to tell at this distance, but I don't
think we had as much fun as this year's Civic massed choirs, and I'm
sure we weren't nearly as entertaining.
Civic was packed for four nights with proud parents and restless
siblings. And the stage was packed with 150 or so youngsters, from
six schools on the night I looked in, with 27 schools taking part
over the four nights
of the Festival.
trooped on to Heigh Ho from Snow White, and show tunes made up most
of the programme. A finger-snapping Singin'
in the Rain was followed by a beautifully disciplined Over The
Rainbow. Grease, Dirty Dancing – hand-jive was as dirty as it got –
and, most impressively, The Rhythm of Life from Sweet Charity.
the obligatory thank-yous, everyone took to their feet for an
arm-waving encore of Fame.
core work this year was The Return of the Glass Slipper; not a
sequel, but a mini-musical with narrators. Mostly forgettable in the
company of Disney, Bart and the rest, but a nice Calypso This
and a Spanish I'm
interval, but two breathers for the singers, with charming novelty
numbers by an eleven-year-old trombonist, and accompanist Danielle
Harding-Smith joining MD Natalie Thurlow at the piano.
infectious enthusiasm and solid direction were
in the success of the evening. All 150 pairs of eyes were on her, as
she guided them through the changes of tempo and key, and some
brilliant dramatic pauses.
real pleasure to see these youngsters experience the thrill of
singing together, and the contagious joy of performance.