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Just before Half Term, this year’s Fourth Form Music Festival kicked off with the preliminary rounds during Donaldson Week. The Festival is a unique opportunity for Fourth Form girls (Years 7-9) to play or sing a piece they have been working on to a live audience of their peers and a panel of music teachers, regardless of what standard they have reached. As always, we had the pleasure of listening to a wide variety of instruments and styles of music. Some girls were beginners and others were seasoned musicians used to performing regularly. We chose 20 performances that we considered musically and technically assured to take part in the Festival Celebration concert on the evening of Monday 2nd March.

The girls did themselves proud, displaying a huge amount of talent to a sizeable audience. We enjoyed a couple of vocal duets, sung for us by Dora and Ruby and secondly Polly and Kitty, both duos giving engaging presentations. We had a myriad of solo singing performances ranging from Deborah’s impressively florid Handel and Elyse’s accomplished German Lied to Grace’s light-hearted account of a French Bergerette. Izzy then set the scene of a jazz club with her imaginative version of Misty. We were transported to different worlds with our other singers. Elowen took us to the French Revolution, Evie to the Austrian mountains, Flossie to New York and Amy to Argentina in their evocative renditions of songs from the shows.

The world of musical theatre and jazz was also a popular choice amongst many of the instrumentalists. Jemima entertained us with Singin’ In The Rain, played stylishly on violin. Walking The Dog – a cheeky little piece for clarinet was played by Flora and our other clarinettist, Georgina, performed an atmospheric interpretation of Stranger On The Shore.

Mia carried the audience to Spain with a touch of Flamenco on the marimba and Coco continued the theme with her expressive pianistic depiction of sunrise Un Amanacer En Santa Marta. By contrast, Millie gave a twinkling portrayal of Midnight Stars on the harp. Pianist Laura played a neat minuet by Haydn and Bo treated us to two movements of a Vivaldi cello Sonata which she played with flawless maturity. All of the girls performed with confidence and musicality and should be congratulated for their hard work.

This year the Festival Concert was adjudicated by Mr Adam Meehan-Staines, who taught at St Mary’s a few years ago. Adam is now Choirmaster at Marlborough College where he directs six choirs and an orchestra, as well as teaching academic music.

Mr Meehan-Staines was faced with the very hard task of choosing a winner and three runners-up. Whilst he deliberated the audience were entertained by the newly formed M4 Band, consisting of Elena, Sophie, Mia, Arabella, Zina, Libby and Coco. This was followed by Vivian playing a solo on the harp. She was then joined by flautist Marguerite to play a beautiful account of Greensleeves.

Our worthy winner this year was Bo, who received the cup and a gift card. Izzy, Millie and Coco each received a gift card for their fabulous performances.

Mrs Rachel Allard, Music Teacher