A grand and gleeful gathering, the audience queued to enter Great School, down the Quads and all the way to the steps, the excited chatter a prelude to the uplifting harmonies to come.
The night sky gave way to Mr Blue Sky by the A Cappella Club and the race was on, from TV to RE, our senses gently massaged then exploded: the Concert Band directed by Mr Dummer and led by Harry D tiptoed from a Candlelight Procession to the rousing theme of Parker and Lady Penelope – yes – Thunderbirds went with a huge take-off to great applause from the packed audience, many standing at the back.
Whizzing back to earth we were challenged by Sinfonia’s Roll of Honour, composed especially for the occasion by Mr Langworthy. Jeff Tracy wasn’t in attendance, but his spirit was there in the slightly unearthly tones, a contemporary balance of dissonance to those Blue Skies of harmony. The unlikely uniting of our senses came from Honk with their silky, sensual medley of jazzy Christmas carols by saxophone.
From the sinewy, velvet sounds of the oxymoronically-named Honk, we came to a stonking Brass Ensemble directed by Miss Eira Owen. And Yuletide was upon us, December in every note, sleigh bells by Nick W; we could just grasp the scent of Rudolf as the Bells Jingled and The Holly prickled. But no cosy fireside next ... party time with the Swing Band and back out to the stratosphere with Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock; audience toes were tapping and shoulders swaying, the Twist and Shouts all stayed at the front, though, and aptly brought us to the interval with Tequila, the last tempting Swinging sound, giving way to refreshments – less spicy but in good Lancing style – of white wine and red. Delighted spectators found that the need for a one-way system had moved from the road into Great School, so many were there whose joy in the auditory treats demanded a little liquid sustenance.
Post interval, a truly ethereal experience awaited. Rosanna W, soprano, effortlessly Rejoice(d) Greatly in Handel’s Messiah. A pure, elevating and full sound, supported by violins, bassoon and harpsichord, led to a standing ovation.
The evening now settling back into orchestral times, we continued with Handel’s Concerto Grosso XI in A Major Op. 6. No 11 performed by the String Chamber Orchestra, and directed by Dr Morgan-Williams, with violin solos by Seung-Youn H and Nima S. Five movements delivered with feeling and precision.
The Symphony Orchestra led us to the finale, playing Bizet’s L’Arlésienne Suites Nos. 1 & 2, with Walter C’s musical chairs acting as an intermezzo as he went from alto sax to percussion, and on to Christmas, Berlin style: White Christmas, with flavouring by
Dr Morgan-Williams, and a special guest appearance by a horn-playing Santa ZaClaus!
Truly a splendid evening of song and making merry, enjoyed by a record audience, overflowing through doors and into classrooms. Yet another Lancing triumph provided by the Music School – thank you.
Sean V E, Upper Sixth