Sunday, 12 March 2017
Headmaster's Blog Spring Term Week 8
After getting behind with last week’s blog, I am determined to hit Monday morning’s deadline this week, especially as we are entering report writing season.
This week and this morning in particular, thoughts are filled with the wonders of last night’s Centenary Gala Concert in Worcester Cathedral. Frankly I was blown away and loved every single minute of it. A huge amount of work had evidently gone into preparing the choir and much credit should go to the choristers and Mr Schellenberg and his team. I would challenge anyone to find a choir in a prep school that could better what we heard yesterday evening. We are not even a choir school attached to a cathedral. The pupils have been fantastic and rehearsed without complaint, with increasing intensity as the moment came closer. They have done this on top of all their other commitments: CE mocks, The Sound of Music rehearsals, games, matches, scholarships, board of music exam preparation, lessons. I hope that they felt it was worth it; they certainly looked as though they did, with beaming smiles and hitting their notes and entries. They started with Zadok the Priest and absolutely nailed it, from which point they never looked back.
The soloists in the first half of the concert were all superb and although it is blowing our own trumpet, I think it is a testament to the standard of music at Abberley that all four of them were either current or recent past pupils of Abberley (credit too to their current schools, Malvern College and King’s School Worcester). It takes some nerve to perform a solo in front of an audience of c.700 in the nave of Worcester Cathedral. There was many a moist eye, mine included, as they performed some really beautiful music: Saint-Saens, Gluck, Mozart, Marcello/Bach; what a treat.
I was thrilled to see so many OAs and current parents volunteering to join the choir too and come back to celebrate the Centenary in this way. We are very much a family and it felt like that to see familiar faces on stage. The Coronation Mass in the second half was a clever and original choice, with some beautiful moments. As I sat and wondered at Sarah Westwood’s wonderful soprano voice, I occasionally glanced across at our pupils in the audience; even the most fidgety were absorbed from start to finish. I did wonder how many of the young girls listening were looking at the soloists and thinking – that could be me one day.
It was heartening to see the cathedral so full; our parents supported the event in great numbers and brought grandparents and friends; OAs and families with several generations who have attended Abberley were there; many old friends, who it was lovely to share the evening with. It reminds me of how lucky I am to be part of this; a night to remember for a very long time.