Rosemary Westwell’s review of the King’s School Ely’s charity concert in the Hayward Theatre

King's School's Jonathan Kingston

King's School's Jonathan Kingston - Credit: Archant

I don’t know how the King’s School does it, but every year at this time of year, after what seems like only a few weeks of school, it produces a splendid concert in aid of charity.

The usual groups were in the programme, many containing new faces which meant a great deal of new learning to do, but the sounds were as commendable as ever. They included the King’s Orchestra conducted by the music director of the school, Jonathan Kingston (pictured), King’s Ely Senior String Orchestra directed by Mr Neil Porter-Thaw, a charming group of cellists called Spikes directed by Mrs Nikki Porter-Thaw, the Brass Ensemble and Training Brass directed by Mr Michel Sedgwick, the renowned King’s Barbers directed by Mr Peter North, the Jazz Band directed by Mr Julian Landymore, the percussionists in ‘RhythmStix’ directed by Mr Will Sivier, and the Concert Band directed by Mr Michel Sedgwick.

The programme opened with King’s Orchestra playing ‘The Thieving Magpie’ at a cracking pace clearly bringing out the cheekiness of the magpie. The rich string sounds of the Ely Senior String Orchestra made Milner’s ‘Scherzo for String’ resonate beautifully and Spikes brought out the sonorous melody of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ very well in the composition of the same name. Other highlights were some very sophisticated brass ensemble sounds in ‘Keep Young and Beautiful’, an authentically nostalgic sound in ‘The Sound of Silence’ by King’s Barbers, some exquisite sonorous moments in ‘Here’s that Rainy Day’ by the Jazz Band, the sheer magic of primeval percussive sounds in ‘Alpho Bravo Niner’ played by Rhythmstix and the pomp and glory of ‘Crown Imperial’ played by the Concert Band.

The director of music, Jonathan Kingston, the ninety plus performers and their teachers are to be congratulated for a splendid night’s entertainment. The event raised money for the Ely Community Service Committee – for which John Smith gave a suitable speech of thanks and UNICEF.