Looking out over a packed auditorium at GLive it was astonishing to think that almost exactly three years ago to the day we had been forced to cancel the RGS/GHS joint choral concert because of Covid 19. So, the excitement was intense at the prospect of once again hearing the tremendous, massed forces of school choirs and orchestras and of course, the Parents’ Choir.
Mr Orchard conducted the first half of the concert, and from the start the warm sound and confidence of the well-rehearsed choir was evident. Rutter’s Requiem is full of beautifully crafted and lyrical melodic lines, and these were always well shaped, the sopranos in particular enjoying the exquisite tunes for which John Rutter is justifiably famous.
Soprano soloist Julia Doyle was on fine form and pure tone of her voice as she effortlessly reached the highest notes, perfectly matched the simple lyricism of the Pie Jesu. As always, you have to pinch yourself occasionally to remind yourself that you are listening to a school orchestra. There didn’t seem to be any weak links and the orchestral playing was always sensitive and well balanced. Particular mention should be made of the excellent oboe solo of Tom Dowdeswell and the challenging cello solo in Out of the Deep which was played with such authority by Isabella Song.
After the interval Grayson Jones took centre stage and we moved into the stormier world of Mozart’s Requiem; his final work and one which is surrounded by stories of intrigue and mystery.
There was a compelling energy in much of the more dramatic chorus work but at the same time, the enormous forces also managed a marvellous delicacy in the Lacrimosa. Julia Doyle was joined by Susan Legg (mezzo soprano), Ben Thalia (tenor) and Christopher Foster (bass) and the solo quartet was well balanced.
What a remarkable achievement this concert was, and congratulations are due to both Music Departments for hard work and inspiring direction to bring such an enormous project to such spectacular fulfilment.