FESTIVE celebrations started early at Shiplake College with an enthralling Winter Music concert. More than 500 parents, staff and guests packed out the sports hall, creating an electric atmosphere for hundreds of pupils to showcase some exceptional talent.
The show was opened by the Motown Band, featuring soloist William Simpson, performing Michael Bublé’s arrangement of Feeling Good. Next, traditionally comprised of those who think they cannot sing, the senior rugby boys featured heavily in the Headmaster’s Choir. The boys’ initial caution soon faded as they sang Come From Heaven Above with an abundance of enthusiasm and — dare I say — enjoyment?
A huge variety of vocal acts covered everything from Christmas classics to chart hits. The lower school — featuring every boy from Years 7 and 8 — and Rock Choirs particularly impressed with their seamless medley transitions. The Girls’ Choir nailed some complex harmonies, whilst the Barbershop Boys mastered the difficult task of performing a cappella.
A diverse range of instruments, from bassoons and double basses to trombones and violins, were played by the Senior Orchestra who captivated the audience with a magnificent rendition of The Planets and a bouncy interpretation of Sleigh Ride. For the penultimate act, we welcomed members of the Shiplake Community Choir who performed a wonderful ballad. The Choir was led by Louise Rapple, recent winner of the Creative Woman of the Year Sue Ryder achievement award.
The event was fittingly rounded off by the Lower School Orchestra who had knees jiggling and feet tapping throughout the audience with their version of Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree. Some of the younger pupils had only been playing their instruments for six weeks, and knew only three notes. Nobody would have noticed, however, as this up-tempo festive anthem ignited the Christmas spirit. Performers and guests then made their way to the Great Hall where earlier in the day, the Parents’ Association had kindly assembled and decorated this year’s Christmas tree. The new decorations provided an appropriate festive backdrop for everyone to enjoy mince pies.
Mr Jones, head of music, said: “The winter concert was a huge success and the music department is incredibly proud. I was delighted by the uniformly high standard of the performances and the fact that so many members of the college community were performing.
“Well done to all.”
Great credit should go to Mr Jones and his department for organising such a magnificent show. Next year certainly has a lot to live up to!
Winter Music Concert