There was a buzz in the air all day in anticipation of the evening’s performance. Morning and afternoon, instrumental and choral pieces were given a final polish in both the individual and combined groups.
The lunchtime recital was a real treat, given by professional guitarists Saki Kato and Hugh Milington – the Miyabi Duo. Their performance of music spanning several centuries revealed the variety of styles and sounds possible from the guitar, including the use of both body and strings as percussive elements. Like other performers at previous Summer Schools, Hugh had participated in MfE activities as a youngster, though not as a player but a singer!
As you can imagine, arranging a hall to accomodate 150+ performers in wind band, string orchestra, full orchestra and choir formation, with three conducting points, four conductors, two pianos, an organ, two sets of timpani, lots of percussion and a table for tuned wine glasses, while still leaving space for a solist and audience of family and friends, takes some time and is no mean feat, but we did it.
The performance of music reflecting this year’s theme of ‘Voyages of Discovery’ – both in space (Now you understand this blog post’s title!) and at sea – was well received. Everyone sang and played with great enthusism. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in three days of intensive rehearsal with great tutors and conductors. Of course there were a few wrong notes, but there was always the right spirit in the music and the opportunity to perform, which is what Music for Everyone is all about.
The String Orchestra enjoyed a rare opportunity for an amateur group – playing a concerto with a professional soloist. Conductor Abi Smith and leader Isobel Bounford ensured a wonderful balance between orchestra and soloist, Hugh Millington, leading to a beautiful performance of Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto.
The concert ended with a mighty fine I vow to thee my country by all performers and audience – this was within the full orchestra’s rendition of Holst’s Jupiter, which included particularly splendid horn playing.
At every great event, much goes on behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly and each participant has a great experience. MfE office staff Amy and Kirstie packed away the urns after the final break having made and served several thousand cups of coffee and tea. (Not forgetting putting out hundreds of biscuits that always disappeared within a few minutes.) They then turned their hands to playing percussion in the evening concert, alongside ‘Events’ Anne tootling her flute and Executive Director Robin compering the evening. And somehow, inbetween and after all that, they collected, set up and served the farewell buffet, then cleared EVERYTHING away until the High School was as though we had never been there.
Huge thanks go to them all, and to conductors Hilary Campbell, Gill Henshaw, Angela Kay and Abi Smith, recitalists and workshop leaders, Richard Cox – THE most amazing accompanist, Nottingham High School for being such fab hosts, and to every participant. We hope you had a great time.
Hilary encouraged the choir to ‘be more Hollywood, less British’, so it seems fitting to say ‘It’s a wrap’ for Summer School 2019! We’ll be back next year with Summer School 2020.