This annual celebration of ‘the lighter side of music at Lancing’ is always guaranteed to bring a smile. Over 90 Lancing musicians, covering all five year groups, delivered everything from Tudor folk music to the hits of Queen with the College’s customary musical quirkiness.
The Concert Band, conducted by Steve Dummer, opened the show with a funky Stevie Wonder Medley, followed by the theme to Mission: Impossible. Their Monday night co-curricular rehearsals have clearly paid off, as they dealt with the tricky 5/4 timing with relative ease.
For the latter two terms of the year, the Choral Scholars have been ably looked after by Hamish Dustagheer, who has kept them on their toes with a rich and varied repertoire. Here they performed Henry VIII’s Pastime with Good Company, and Thomas Morley’s 16th century ballett Now is the Month of Maying before delivering a stunning rendition of Pitoni’s Cantate Domino. Neil Cox’s legacy has been in safe hands.
Eira O’s Brass Ensemble gave us a lively Mr Jums, from Chris Hazell’s Three Brass Cats, as well as Jim Webb’s MacArthur Park. The arrangement ensured we didn’t miss the crooning vocal of Andy Williams, disco of Donna Summer or indeed, Richard Harris, but we still got excited for the Pearl & Dean-esque mid section stabs!
Honk! is a critical part of this show, revisiting Gershwin’s Preludes; this evening their triumph was in delivering possibly the best arrangement (by Paul Murtha) of Freddie Mercury’s Bohemian Rhapsody you’ll ever hear outside of the original recording. Boiling such a complex piece of music down to a four-saxophone arrangement must have been challenging enough, but the delivery from Sophie M-S, Ivan L, Finn H and Jonny W was stunningly handled, and a highlight of the show.
David Whitson’s Big Band of 23 musicians gave us six favourites - Soul Bossa Nova; On Green Dolphin Street; Birdland; Woodchopper’s Ball; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy; and Stand By Me. David often urges us to dance, and this evening, we should have.
In another change of pace, Chris Langworthy’s A Cappella Club took to the stage with a re-visit to Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, and A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman. It was a moving performance which left a tear or two of pride.
More than half of the night’s musicians then arrived in (or returned to) Great School to make up the Symphony Orchestra. The Theme from The Magnificent Seven stirred us, Appalachian Morning soothed us, and the boisterous cartoon medley of What’s Up at the Symphony? gave us the giant slap-in-the-face finale that Bugs Bunny would have envied!