Review of The King’s School Ely’s 19th Old Dispensary Concert Friday 19th November in the Hayward Theatre Ely

An amazing array of highly talented musicians performed at the King’s School Ely’s 19th Old Dispensary Concert in the Hayward Theatre on Friday. Over the years the school has managed to raise in the region of £20,000 to keep this much needed community centre open and the standard of entertainment they have provided has been exceptional. Fridays’ event was one of the finest.  

Director Ian Sutcliffe has worked wonders. The concert opened with a very expressive performance of ‘Danse Macabre’ by Saint-Saens by the Senior Orchestra. The String Orchestra directed by Helen Medlock followed with a lively ‘Badinerie’ by JS Bach and then it was the turn of the famed King’s Barbers and Ely Cathedral Boy Choristers. Singing with their usual sonorous perfection, they offered some more modern items in the popular vein:  ‘Angels’ (Robbie Williams and G Chambers), and ‘Shine’ by G. Barlow, J. Orange, H. Donald, M. Owen and S. Robson. It was interesting to note that the latter song was arranged by A.L’Estrange who had visited the school and given a workshop on a separate occasion previously.

Spikes, a delightful group of cellists played an interesting arrangement of the ‘Raindrop Prelude in D flat’ by Chopin and Voicexchange, directed by Peter B North, produced beautifully shaped sounds and effective lively harmonies in ‘Let’s begin again by J. Rutter and ‘For Now’ by R. Lopez and J. Marx.

In Julian Landymore’s hands, the Jazz Band wowed us with ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ by B. Goodman, soothed us with the haunting ‘Cycles’ by C. Gordon and ‘Cerulean Sea’ by L. Niehaus and had us tapping our toes with the final ‘jazzy’ ‘Yardbird Suite’ by C. Parker.

The renowned Chamber Choir directed by Ian Sutcliffe presented ‘Oh Shenandoah’ – the song that they were to sing on Radio Cambridgeshire the following Sunday. The maturity and beauty of their voices was phenomenal. This work was also arranged by A. L’Estrange,

The Brass Ensemble conducted by Michel Sedgwick demonstrated tremendous power, glorious tone and slick tonguing in ‘Farandole from ‘L’Arlesienne Suite’’ by Bizet and ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing’ arranged by C.  Custer

A highly amusing piano duet played by Yukie Kimura and Luke Cave provided light contrast before the grand finale provided by The Concert Band playing ‘Wind Power’ by T Deleruyelle, ‘Te Deum’ by J. de Hann and ‘Tom Jones in Concert’ arranged by F. Bernaerts. Michel Sedgwick, a highly talented conductor, had these wonderful musicians creating tremendous sounds of splendour, subtlety and exquisite tonal control. It was no surprise to learn that this band hand had recently completed a highly successful tour of Malaysia in the presence of none other than the King. Spotted amongst the percussion was the previous Head of Music at the school, Graham Griggs.

As we left the theatre with Tom Jones’ ‘It’s not unusual to be loved …’ or ‘The Green green grass of home …’ singing in our ears, we knew we had been to a special event. Is there no end to the talent of the students of this school?

Contact: or tel (01353) 653931


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