More than 1,800 school children from local primary schools and John Whitgift Foundation’s three schools, Whitgift, Trinity and Old Palace of John Whitgift, either attended or performed in two spectacular concerts to mark the opening of the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls on Wednesday 16th October.
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 arr. C Duncan, Pink Panther, by Henry Mancini and a finale by Whitgift School’s Corps of Drums.
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.
The evening’s concert programme was carefully co-ordinated by music directors and staff from the three schools and 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, and 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 with £5 million granted each year to students who attend its three schools.
Martin Corney, Chief Executive of The Whitgift Foundation, said: “We were delighted to showcase the wealth and breadth of musical talent that our Croydon schools have to offer to so many people in the local community.
This generation of musical talent should be exceptionally proud of their performances in the wonderfully refurbished Fairfield Halls. It was a fantastic way to celebrate both the reopening of this fine venue, and the legacy of our Founder, Archbishop John Whitgift.”
Rosanna Whitfield, Director of Music, Whitgift School and one of the concert leads, said: “This celebration concert was one of the first inaugural events to be staged at the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls which has been sorely missed as one of Croydon’s regular performance venues.
“With an acoustic to match that of any major London concert hall, we are incredibly proud to have been given this outstanding collaborative performance opportunity in which to highlight the musical talent amongst our three Schools.”
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.”