The evening of 7thOctober witnessed the first Open Musicians’ Platform of the academic year. Tailored to our intermediate students, performing between grades four to seven, the saw a plethora of Millfield’s musicians take to the stage of the Johnson Hall; and for many, this was their first public performance at Millfield School.
Cecilia Barry opened the evening with a skilful and plaintive interpretation of Richard Rodney Bennett’s Rosemary’s Waltz No.2 from ‘Tender is the Night’; with her calm and musical performance echoing the emotive meaning of the work’s title. Following this, Jasmine Caley swelled the audience into the setting from a musical, when she sang Home from ‘Beauty and The Beast’ by American film composer, Alan Menken. Another vocalist led us from musical theatre to Handel, when Abigail Barber took to the stage to sing the aria Bel Piacerefrom the opera ‘Agrippina’. Abigail clearly caught the style and propriety of the work, with excellent diction and a delicate tone for the fast-energetic nature of the aria. Next up and following on from his dramatic electric cello performance at Showcase, Toby Smith lulled the audience into a sense of reflection and stillness with his playing of Gabriel Faure’s Elegie in C Minor, Op.24.
With the concert interspersed with a variety of instruments, piano and voice , soprano vocalist Joanna Maddock sang a heart-warming rendition of The First Mercy by choral composer Peter Warlock.
The concert flowed through without an interval, which allowed for the evening’s atmosphere to grasp the audience for the duration. Tabitha Hawkins was next on stage and, along with the other Year 9 musicians, this was the first time she had performed in public at Millfield. Tabitha played Fiestafrom Miniatures, Op.52, No.7 by Spanish composer Joaquin Turina. Upper Sixth former Paige Millard then took to the stage to sing a beautifully-crafted rendition of With Youby Glen Ballard, David Stewart, and Brice Rubin; with her mellow, yet focused tone drifting effortlessly on the protracted sustained notes around the Johnson Hall, with the subtle piano accompaniment complimenting this perfectly. Solomon Williams then presented the final piano performance of the evening, as he played Tugulea Railby Darius Brubeck, presenting an air of confidence and musicality as he played. Up next was vocalist Jemima Heffron, who sang Take Me To The Worldby Stephen Sondheim, presenting a very elegant and professional performance persona, projecting a tone fitting for the song’s emotive direction. Lower Sixth former Liberty Davies sang next, with a powerful portrayal of A Change in Mefrom ‘Beauty and The Beast’ by Alan Menken. The penultimate performance was presented by Eloise Parton on violin, where she played the Sarabande in G minorby Carl Bohm. Eloise’s performance had a sure confidence and a performance presence suited to the skilful playing shown. The final performance of the evening saw Caitlin Collins perform My Shipby Kurt Weill. A very strong performance, with true musicianship and emotion throughout the performance.
With only the first concert behind us at Millfield School, it was a pleasure to see so many young musicians take to the stage (for perhaps the first time at Millfield) and perform to such a high level, with great confidence and with evident musicianship.