Junior Branch boys share love of music

The Autumn Concert set the bar high for the rest of the Junior Branch’s output in the Performing Arts in 2023–24.

Parents new to the Junior Branch might not have known what to expect when entering the Great Hall at Frognal, but once the JB Orchestra proved their professionalism with a musically tight rendition of themes from Doctor Who, they soon became aware that this would be no run-of-the-mill school concert and instead were swept up into a world of musical riches.

From the total commitment of the Year 3s’ uplifting class repertoire to the sophistication of the Year 6s in harmony and counterpoint, the audience witnessed the rapid musical development that the boys undergo throughout their JB careers.

The pupils also showed great commitment in various instrumental ensembles: percussion, woodwind, recorders, strings, guitars and the Big Band performed with precision and deep musical understanding; and perhaps the most engaging were the Percussion Ensemble with their polyrhythmic music from West Africa, and the Woodwind Ensemble with a beautiful nuanced performance of Stephen Schwartz’s ‘Colours of the Wind’.

Pupils handled music of real complexity with apparent ease, notably the Year 6s and the String Ensemble who performed a whirlwind medley from The Greatest Showman.

The two choirs also summoned pristine performances, notably ‘Be Kind to Your Parents’ and ‘What the World Needs Now’ (a tribute to the late Burt Bacharach), but perhaps the highlight of the evening was the Senior Choir’s emotive rendition of ‘Spread the Love Around’ with full accompaniment from the Big Band.

Kudos to the staff for their combined efforts in making this concert so slick and efficient, while Mr Lanigan-O’Keeffe and the Music team clearly devoted much time and patience to eliciting such fine performances from the boys.

Certain JB pupils showed incredible maturity by taking on pivotal accompanying roles, such as Harry Cheung (piano), Maximilian Yue (violin) and a cohort of exceptionally able drummers who drove the vast selection of music – Arjun Chadha, Frederick Fenton, Benjy Roche, Milan Sojitra and Jasper Wong. It was also great to see JB staff members lend their musical talents to the occasion – Sarah-Jane Tarver on djembe and Joe Jones on melodion.

As ever, the Autumn Concert brought the UCS community together in a spirit of joy and a shared love of music.

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