Harpenden school pupils organise fundraising concert for Teenage Cancer Trust

PUBLISHED: 15:05 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:12 29 August 2018

The methodist church on High Street in Harpenden. Picture: Google.

The methodist church on High Street in Harpenden. Picture: Google.


John Manning reviews an unexpected musical treat in Harpenden.

On the face of it, a concert given by a bunch of teenagers in aid of a charity might not appear to offer an evening of outstanding and thoroughly interesting music – but that is exactly what was offered to an audience at Harpenden High Street Methodist Church.

The event, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, was organised by young musicians from St George’s School, Harpenden, and the Guildhall School’s junior music department, and provided a wonderfully varied programme of both popular and classical music.

But above all, much of the music was technically challenging for the performers, starting with Deux Movements, a piece for wind quartet by French composer Jacques Ibert performed by the Junior Guildhall Wind Quartet, flautist Bence Csiba, oboist Leo Zagorac, clarinettist Beth Machell and bassoonist Daria Phillips.

Trumpeter Rebecca Stowe followed with transcriptions of Michael Bublé’s Haven’t Met You Yet and Elton John’s Your Song.

Bence Csiba demonstrated the versatility of the flute with British flautist and composer Ian Clark’s intriguing and totally atmospheric The Great Train Race, which demonstrates some of the more unusual and often unexpected sounds that can be produced by the instrument.

And trombonist Archie Young-Lee followed on with Leonard Bernstein’s all to brief Elegy for Mippy II, yet another work demanding modern performance techniques.

The first half was rounded off with Bence Csiba and Beth Machell accompanied by Ken Bartels performing Bizet’s Carmen Rhapsody.

A bigger band sound opened the second half when saxophone players John Kelly, Alice Dyson, Beth Machell and Kazimir Uzwyshyn-Jones, trumpeter Rebecca Stowe and pianist Johnny Smith joined forces for a performance of Gershwin’s American in Paris Medley.

One of the must technical – and rarely performed – works was George Hüe’s Fantasie for flute and piano performed by Katie Bartels accompanied by Ken Bartels

A really fine performance of Mendelssohn’s Andante and Rondo Capriccioso performed by Johnny Smith followed and after Three pieces for solo Clarinet by Stravinsky, performed by Beth Machell, the evening closed with a fine arrangement of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody performed by the Junior Guildhall Wind Quartet.

The whole evening was one of high quality performances, often of extremely technical and hard to perform works, and all those taking part must be congratulated for their outstanding efforts as well as their fundraising contribution to a deserving charity.

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