On Sunday 8th March, over 450 guests descended on Cadogan Hall in London for a special concert to celebrate 175 years since the founding of Radley College. The event had been two years in the planning, and the 100-strong ensemble of musicians from across the school had been practicing their pieces for the last 6 months. Sophie Torrance, Engagement Officer for The Radleian Society, reviews the evening.
The concert opened with a rallying cry of solo piper and drums from the stage balcony, followed by a transporting performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 in E Minor by Orchestra. The audience were swept away by Elgar’s Serenade from Strings, and then brought crashing back to earth by the percussive rhythm of Dan Moore’s Trash Can-certo which was warmly rewarded by rapturous applause. The orchestra regrouped for the rich and exciting sounds of Marquez’s Conga del Fuego before the interval, where guests from across the College community gathered for a drink.
As well as Radley’s 175th, the concert also marked two significant musical anniversaries: the 90th birthday of John Williams, and the 175th anniversary of the death of Felix Mendelssohn. Both these composers were celebrated after the interval with selected pieces of their work. Music was taken from John William’s score for the iconic film Catch Me If You Can and featured Calver (6.2, B Social), Tom (6.2, B Social) and Angus (6.2, F Social) who brought to life Williams’ impressionistic memoir of the progressive jazz movement with their stunning saxophone performances. Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor was expertly played by the Chan Piano Trio. The evening ended with some big band favourites, augmented by strings and singers. The audience waltzed off into the night in style!
Our boys performed to an astonishingly professional standard and were certainly worthy of the prestigious venue. Staff at Cadogan Hall remarked to the organising team that the performances were nothing like they had come to expect from school concert bookings, evidencing the skill and passion of all involved.
Sam Gladstone, Precentor, said:
“I could not be more proud of the performers at this very special occasion in such an inspiring venue. It was a joyous occasion, celebrating the importance of music to Radley life. The boys were outstanding: each one played a key role in making an unforgettable evening. They should be incredibly proud of themselves and each other – not just for the stratospheric standard of musicianship, which reflects hundreds of hours of work and dedication, but also the camaraderie, joy and musical communication which say a huge amount about their character and commitment. They will carry these with you for the rest of their lives. It was a privilege to share the stage with them.”
You can view a gallery of photos or watch the full concert below.