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Music Academy French Evening

IMG_9123.JPGA Candlelit Evening of Faure, Franck and other French Friends

On the 27th June at 7pm an audience at St Anne's church were treated to a varied performance of French Romantic music from Salesian choirs, chamber orchestra and soloists. Framed by Faure's Messe Des Pecheurs, the programme also included Ravel, Delibes, Franck and Debussy. Thanks to all who took part and who came and supported us.

The next Music Academy event is our Young Musician of the Year competition on Tuesday 19th July at 7pm in Highfield Road Hall. Please do come and watch what is bound to be a tough competition!


A review by Rob Stafford, peripatetic piano teacher:

IMG_9174.JPGSt Anne's Church in Chertsey. The beautiful venue for Salesian School's evening of Faure, Franck and other French friends. Take a quick glance at the wonderfully prepared programme and you get a sense that you are in for a classy evening of Romantic French repertoire.

The evening began with the school choir elegantly presented in their sleek black outfits. They performed 'Messe Des Pecheurs' accompanied by the school orchestra. The well drilled choir under the baton of Miss Clarey launched confidently into their set list demonstrating a beautiful balanced tone and a keen eye for detail. The Orchestra followed every beat of the baton and supported the choir with real sensitivity.

Sofia Armella contributed to the magic of the evening by reciting two poems in French. The two poems were preludes to 'Clair De Lune' and 'Apres Un Reve'. Emily Copping very quickly calmed her nerves to treat the audience to a spine tingling performance of the latter piece. Her performance was rich with emotion, with excellent diction, and accompanied beautifully by Miss Clarey.

'Cantique De Jean Racine' is an instantly recognisable favourite performed by the Staff and Student Choir. It was clear from the first phrase that we were listening to nine equally developed voices blending beautifully and never missing a harmony. The middle section felt as though it could have moved on a bit quicker, but nonetheless this was a real treat to hear.

Duets don't get much better than this performance of the Flower Duet. Emily and Olivia's voices are equally matched, and made what is an enjoyable but rather difficult piece sound as easy as pie. Their voices weaved in and out and hit every note with confidence, especially the higher notes that soared so beautifully. After having heard the girls sing their duet, you can't help but feel sorry for the three young lads who are to try and follow them. But, once again, the audience is blown away as Brendan, Henry and Pierce join together in close harmony and once again pull off another near perfect performance of 'Panis Angelicus'. These three young lads have seriously well trained and matured voices that blend together perfectly. They really could take off in a big way, this really is a trinity, three in one.

As the evening progressed, the programmed continued to deliver hit after hit with excerpts from Faure's 'Requiem' and Ravel's 'Five Greek Songs'. In between these wonderful vocal performances were some equally polished instrumental soloists. Georgina Schild performed 'Sicilienne' on flute, and Amy Jenkins performed 'Pavane' on viola.

But the star of the night by a very long way was Bredan Soane who performed 'Clair De Lune' on the piano. Such a gamble when you consider just how many pianists perform itevery single day. Still, I am confident in saying that so far this year, no one anywhere in the country, professional or amateur, has achieved the standard that Bredan did that night. There was one tiny inaudible slip near the start but this didn't faze him in the slightest. Even more impressive is the fact that he achieved all this on a Yamaha CLP330. Quite incredible.

The programme closed as it begun with the choir and orchestra performing more extracts from 'Messe Des Pecheurs'. A perfect end to a perfect night of class and romance. It was clear looking around at the smiles on the audience's faces that everyone really enjoyed the evening. I'm sure that the performers did as well, but it would have been comforting to see a few more smiles on the performers' faces too. There was one other small but very significant contribution to the evening. The Headteacher, Mr. Kibble warmly welcomed the audience and wished them well on their way at the end. Such a small token, but one that validates what the Salesian Music Academy is doing. Not only because concerts are important, but because Salesians of Chertsey execute them to the highest standards. A standard that most secondary school aspire to but rarely achieve.



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