Ripon Cathedral Concert with St Cecilia Orchestra

Tuesday 23 January 2024 | By Megan Connor

Our singers had an especially busy weekend!  Not only were they rehearsing during Open Day, but on both Friday and Saturday in Ripon Cathedral as part of the preparations for the Magic of Music concert with St Cecilia Orchestra, conducted by Xenophon Kelsey, MBE.

The invitation to perform came from John Forsyth, MBE, whom I have known, worked and performed with for many years.  In fact, our main piece in the concert, The Lamplighter was commissioned and composed by Gary Carpenter in the late 1990s and I featured as one of the singers on that recording with the Liverpool Philharmonic, so it was particularly special to be involved again this time around and to share the music with our THS musicians.

Students from our Prep and Senior Choirs have worked hard on the challenging repertoire in addition to all our usual performances last term and have risen to the challenge in an impressive and professional manner.  St Cecilia’s is a large and imposing professional orchestra whose playing was evocative and inspiring on Saturday night; it was difficult not to be in awe of the vast array of different instruments on display!  Our students took it all in their stride.

In addition to The Lamplighter, we performed two pieces from Andrew Carter’s Benedicite: Butterflies and Moths, and Grannies and Grandads.  These more light-hearted pieces had everyone smiling, and were a great contrast to Malcolm Arnold’s Grand, Grand Festival Overture which featured three vacuum cleaners and a floor polisher!  The orchestra also treated us to the more familiar Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Duka, which you will recognise as the soundtrack to Disney’s classic animation, Fantasia.

With stunning performances all round, a packed Ripon Cathedral and well over 200 musicians performing together, it was a truly magical evening for all involved.

My thanks go to all our Prep and Senior singers, to Mrs Ayling and Mr Wing who helped the Prep children prepare so well, and to Miss Stephens for supporting us on the day.

Mrs Shevels