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Boys' School Music Showcase 2020

November 17, 2020 at 3:02 PM

The JC Chalmers Hall at the Boys’ School was packed wall to wall this morning with boys, parents and invited guests for the annual Music Showcase; a morning when our leading musicians have a chance to share their talents and love of music.

The audience was welcomed into the hall – loudly - by the Boys’ School Pipes and Drums! The pipers and drummers clearly enjoyed the chance to play for an audience as they passed by.

With MCs’ Arden Matheson and Edison Zhou keeping the audience informed, the Symphonic Orchestra opened the concert with the theme song from ‘Beauty and the Beast’ followed by a medley of Queen songs, bringing an orchestral influence to items better known rock numbers!  The orchestra is a mix of both beginner and experienced players, with those already well-skilled, taking on section leadership. The String Group followed on, playing the gentle Handel’s Water Music.

Leading musicians had the chance to audition for a solo spot beginning with Max Mei who also plays in the orchestra and the string group. Max wowed with a violin performance of ‘Csardas’ by Vittoria Monti. Our three other soloists for the morning have each recently received international acclaim. With the ‘Covid effect’ pushing competitions online this year Oliver Mar (cellist) and brothers Edison and Leo Zhou (pianists) all excelled this year. Playing ‘Valse’ by Shostakovich, Oliver competed in the Melbourne International Piano and Strings competition and achieved a 2nd place competing against musicians from fourteen other countries such as Australia, Canada, USA, China and Korea. Edison and Leo both entered the 2020 Grand Prize Virtuoso in Germany, both placing 1st in their respective age groups! Edison and Oliver also won 1st Prizes at the 21st International Valsesia Musica Competition in Italy and Leo won 2nd Prize in the US Charleston International Music Competition. Their performances this morning left us in no doubt about their talent!

The smaller ensembles of the Flute Choir, Jazz Combo, Guitar Duet, Recorder Consort and Jazz Band each had their chance to entertain with a wide range of musical styles and each group receiving an enthusiastic reception.

Both the Saint Kentigern Singers and the Performers’ Choir had their moment in the spotlight. The Singers are a group of boys who meet to learn singing techniques and are currently working through The Voice for Life Training programme. The Performers’ Choir is our senior auditioned choir who learn a wide repertoire of both secular and sacred pieces to perform in our Chapel services and various events throughout the year. Both choirs gave confident performances.

The concert concluded with closing remarks from Principal, Mr Peter Cassie who is always in awe of our musicians. Like many ‘non-musicians,’ he wishes he shared their talents! He began by acknowledging the graduating Year 8 students who have given so much to the music programme over the years, both in talent and leadership.

In this ‘most unusual year,’ Mr Cassie reiterated something we have all come to appreciate in recent months – how lucky we are to live in New Zealand and be able to gather for a live performance of music and song at a time when such an opportunity is unthinkable in other parts of the world.

Mr Cassie offered his thanks to Mrs Janet Grierson, Mrs Georgina Jarvis and our itinerant music teachers for the fantastic work they do with the boys – and to our parents for encouraging their boys to take up an instrument or join in song, to be able to share their talents at what was a superb morning concert.

Well done to all the performers!

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