Review of the King’s School Ely Charity Concert on 2nd December in the Hayward Theatre, Ely.

Well, they have done it again. The King’s School Ely, while functioning ‘normally’ as a busy school in a winter term, has managed to pull out all the stops and present a full and entertaining programme in their Charity Concert tonight.

To a packed audience in the Hayward Theatre, a host of groups took their turn to provide some top notch musical entertainment.

The event opened with a masterful fanfare from the brass ensemble: ‘Fanfare for the Lord Mayor of London’ by Bliss, followed by three varied pieces by the Concert Band. ‘I Got Rhythm’ by Gershwin was particularly well played with ‘The Witches’ Sabbath’ by Puccini and ‘A tribute to Michael Jackson’  maintaining interest with some grand sit-up-and-notice moments.

The precision and charming harmonies by Voicexchange enhanced their performances of ‘One Singular Sensation from ‘A Chorus Line’ arranged by Arch and ‘Nobody Knows the trouble I’ve seen’, a spiritual arranged by Chilcott.

The listeners were wowed before the interval with a toe tapping ‘Orange Sherbert’ by Nestico, a gorgeous schmaltzy ‘The Christmas Song’ by Tormé and Wells and a forthright ‘Alianza’ by Morales.

The Brass Ensemble began the second half with a grand performance of Clarke’s ‘Trumpet Voluntary’ followed by a very attractive ‘Santa Baby’ by Jivets and Springer arranged by Maxwell. It was at this point in the evening that one could not help noticing CJ Porter-Thaw of ‘The Choirboys’ fame a number of years ago. His solo trumpet playing was excellent.

The King’s Barbers presented a number of pieces in effective harmony. This large group managed some most tricky entries, and challenging part-singing and movements with ease.

One of the highlights of the evening was undoubtedly ‘Pikes Cello Group’ playing ‘DMO for Cello Quartet’ by Atwell. This was far from one of those open-stringed nice little pieces for school performers. This group mastered very attractive, sophisticated harmonies beautifully.

The Chamber Choir livened events with their part song  ‘Ev’ry time I feel the spirit’ arranged by Chilcott and the culmination of the evening was the grand performance by the Senior Orchestra playing ‘Farandole’ from ‘L’Arlesienne Suite no 2’ by Bizet and the entertaining ‘Bugler’s Holiday’ featuring Charles (CJ) Porter-Thaw, Elric Doswell and Mark Parry.

Ian Sutcliffe, Director of Music, then announced a final surprise. The audience was invited to close their eyes and then, when asked to open them again, lo and behold, the entire orchestra (or over 60 members) had dressed themselves in Santa hats. Complete with falling snow, sleigh bells and the sound of horses ‘hooves, the orchestra let its hair down and played ‘Sleigh ride’.

This had obviously been a highly successful event as a number of members of the audience were caught whistling the tune from ‘Sleigh Ride’ as they left the theatre.

The proceeds from the concert will be given to the ‘Old Dispensary’ in Ely. – a tradition that has been established over a number of years.

Rosemary Westwell



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