Churcher’s College kindly opened their doors for the eighth year running for a wonderful treat of music and entertainment raising funds for Save the Children at a festive concert on Friday 27 November.
The gymnasium was transformed into a theatrical and festive setting with candlelit round tables, helium balloons and a central stage. The students from Bedales, Churcher’s College, Ditcham Park School and The Petersfield School gathered to showcase their different skills in music, song and dance. The evening began with an introduction from Prue Rushmer, Vice Chair of Petersfield’s Save the Children branch (one of the longest standing in Britain), and she talked about the many activities the branch is involved in. A short film followed, giving an indication of how Save the Children has been responding to emergencies around the world for 90 years and emphasising that the faster we respond, the more lives are saved. It reminded us all of the necessity of fundraising to keep children from harm in the UK and abroad.
A stunning and surprising Shostakovich piece from Bedales opened the evening’s entertainment. The second movement of the Piano Concerto No. 2 has a tender and melancholic slow string introduction with the piano soloist (Shanise Liang) gently entering. Written for the 19th birthday of the composer’s son Maxim it is a simple and expressive piece.
The Petersfield School followed with a medley of dance, drama and music using the song Photograph by Ed Sheeran, which describes his long distance relationship with his girlfriend in a lively, energetic and thoughtful performance from the year 9 Performing Arts GCSE students.
The interval provided a chance to chat to friends over a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, kindly donated by Churcher’s College. Ditcham Park School choirs then provided a Christmas theme with a selection of five chamber choir pieces in a varied repertoire of Tavener, Rutter and old favourites I Saw Three Ships and Joy to the World in modern arrangements by Willcocks and Mason ending with Gruber’s Silent Night. It was wonderful to see a youngster stand up to the microphone to lead her choir – one to watch for the future?
Churcher’s College continued with the Junior Choir and The Lily and the Rose and the soulful adaptation of John McCrae’s poem In Flander’s Fields by Jacobson and Emerson. Elizabeth Turner then burst into the evening with The Girl in 14G adapted by Tessori from Dick Scanlan showing a voice of extraordinary versatility. Was this a musical, jazz, or an opera we listened to? Toes then tapped to the Jazz Band’s rhythms of That Man and The Incredibles before the evening ended with all schools and audience in combined singing of two carols ably led by Max Wood.
Ticket sales, a raffle and a retiring collection all raised funds for Save the Children which will be doubled through the UK Government’s Aid Match Scheme. More than £3,000 was raised on the night.
By Moony Budge