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Music at St John’s ended the school year on a high note with the choral society’s concert on Thursday 25 June in the Old Chapel. This final performance of the year was very well attended and left a lasting impression on those who came.
The Old Chapel could not have been a better setting for the chosen programme, which comprised two masses composed over 150 years apart. In the first part of the evening, the performers sang Haydn’s Paukenmesse, while the second part was devoted to The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins. What is striking about the choice of these masses, despite or even because of the huge time gap separating their composers, is the common spirit binding them together: both deal with the recurrent theme of the futility of war; and, both finish on a more optimistic note in their closing pieces with words, reinforced by a shift from a minor to a major key, proclaiming that war can be avoided in favour of lasting peace in future.
The occasion was also an opportunity to say goodbye to a most gifted cohort of musicians leaving the School. Five of the six soloists in the concert were all departing Upper Sixth, some of whom will be soon pursuing their musical career at university or with the media. Their performance at such a demanding set of pieces, requiring a full vocal range, showed just how much they have developed their talents at St John’s. The School wishes them the best in the future.
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