Joint Schools Concert

Just before Half Term, students from Old Palace, Trinity and Whitgift took part in two magnificent concerts to mark the opening of the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls on Wednesday 16th October. This was the first time that all three Foundation schools have combined in what was to be a musical tour de force.

A concert held in the morning saw 1,350 children attend from more than 30 local primary schools with performances by students from Whitgift and Old Palace of John Whitgift Schools, and featuring classical pieces such as Superman by John Williams and arranged by Old Palace‚Äôs Brass teacher Claire Duncan. 

In the evening, all three John Whitgift Foundation Schools, with more than 450 students and staff, performed a spectacular programme of choral and orchestral music to an audience of more than 1,000 people. Each school provided a solo performance and Ellie (Year 12) performed a simply magnificent soprano solo, accompanied by a full orchestra and a chorus of Old Palace students.

The evening concert also featured two debut repertoires involving two famous composers that were performed for the very first time. The opening Fanfare was composed as part of a competition between the three schools, adjudicated by operatic and choral composer, Russell Hepplewhite, and won by Whitgift student, William Brotherhood. The closing piece, Te Deum, was composed especially for the concert by award winning composer, Jack Oades. Other exciting performances included Grieg’s Piano Concerto, 1st Movement and the exquisite Rutter Gloria.

The event also celebrated the charity’s Founder, Archbishop John Whitgift, whose legacy to the town has resulted in one of the largest bursary support schemes in the UK. Five million is granted each year to students who attend its three schools.

This was an unforgettable experience for our girls and after the concert a number of Old Palace students said:

Sariah, Year 6 ‘It was an amazing experience for all the girls and we had a great time!’

Natalie, Year 7 ‘I loved singing in the concert with such a large choir and it felt like a momentous occasion being able to perform in the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls’

Norocco, Year 12 ‘It was great to play at the Fairfield Halls again, and it felt like a fitting way to celebrate the skills and talent within our foundation schools, as well as the legacy of John Whitgift.’

Comments from the audience:

“The whole event was of the highest order; from the first to last note I had no thought that I was listening to school children, rather that I was being transported by music made by top-tier professionals.”

“A stunning showcase of an evening and hugely enjoyable.”

“Wow, what an evening of fantastic young talent, it was very special to be there”

“I was totally enthralled and uplifted by the whole event. The quality of the music was exceptional and the performance was of the highest standard. Prep girls were fortunate enough to meet composer, Jack Oades, after the performance on Wednesday evening.

Prep girls were fortunate enough to meet composer, Jack Oades, after the performance on Wednesday evening.

They were particularly thrilled when he autographed their copies of his piece Te Deum!  A real live composer!  

 Avani and Catherine said:

‚ÄòIt was a real surprise to bump into Jack Oades in the corridors at the Fairfield Halls after the performance. We were so excited that some of us screamed!  We asked if he would autograph our copies of ‚ÄòTe Deum‚Äô which he did with not much space to spare!  It was a fantastic experience and we felt so pleased to have met him and so proud to sing in the world premiere of his piece.