Last night, Downside Abbey Church was filled with a feast of music that was Gloria! And what a concert it was…

Mr McNamara was at his most inspiring as he conducted the vast assembled forces with professional skill and contagious enthusiasm. Indeed, his own enjoyment of every aspect of the performances was evident from the first downbeat, and one could hear the smiles in the voices as the pupils gave their all. 

“Completely blown away this evening by the Gloria! concert at Downside Abbey. Made all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. What amazing choristers and instrumentalists.” – Current parent

Pupils who were singing two years ago were delighted to see the return to School of superb soprano soloist Esther Mallett, who is currently doing her Masters at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Singing in the Poulenc, Esther was everything to be expected – and more.

The timely explosion of a light bulb at one of the most dramatic parts of the Elgar left the audience wondering if it was deliberate, or rather as a result of Mr Sheldrakes’ exuberant singing or Mr Jobbins’ ‘thundering’ drumming. The magnificent large orchestra added a fantastic array of musical colours and subtle nuances to the music, inspiring the choir to join in the ‘picture painting’ with their words, thus bringing a whole new dimension of emotion to the performance.

Afterwards, pupils happily argued as to which piece they liked best, deciding that ‘all of it’ was the best answer. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard in preparation for the event, and to all who attended.