The City of London schools came together last week, unusually, for a concert in the Great Hall, Guildhall. It made most of us assembled wonder why we don’t do more such things more regularly.
Deputy Catherine McGuinness, Chairman of the Education Board, and the Lord Mayor introduced the evening as an ‘exciting opportunity for all of our schools and academies to showcase their talents.’ Mary King compered the evening - herself a Guildhall School of Music graduate, and Vocal Talent consultant to companies performing in such diverse theatrical realms as Glyndebourne and West End musicals, Wicked and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Such diversity was certainly something to behold throughout the evening in the quite exquisite setting of the Great Hall which has itself, of course, witnessed many a drama since its completion in 1411, including the occasional trial for treason, and regular state and mayoral occasions. Deputy McGuinness had suggested that we were marking an historic occasion - what a fitting place for hundreds of young people to make history!
Mary King introduced, in turn: Redriff Primary School; our school, City of London Freemen’s; Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School; The City Academy, Hackney; the City of London School for Girls; City of London Academy, Southwark; City of London Academy, Islington; City of London School (Boys). The finale seemed to achieve the impossible - all performers from all eight schools processed onto the stage to join Mary (conducting) in a choral performance of Refuge.
During the evening, performances of Adele’s Skyfall sat alongside Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3; a Mozart Oboe Quartet was closely followed by The Lion King’s Circle of Life (an incredible high-octane performance, which was the most popular topic of conversation as we left for our lifts home); an abridged, balletic, Romeo and Juliet contrasted a Polka from young string players and the jazz standard Caravan was foil to a seldom (unfortunately) performed choral anthem from Will Todd: The Rose.