Sensational Strings

The Music School hit the ground running as Farleigh bounced back to life last Tuesday, when term began. By morning break, nearly 50 individual music lessons had been taught, and ensemble rehearsals were about to get underway, it was as if we had never been away! 

Despite the brevity of the Spring term, it is full of many exciting musical events, the first of which took place last Friday, when we were treated to a visit by Marlborough College’s Director of Instrumental Studies, Mr Alex Arkwright, the Head of Strings, Mrs Sara Stagg and four talented sixth form string players, Hamish, Idris, Lottie and Theo.

A busy afternoon of string playing lay ahead for Farleigh’s twenty strong String Sensation, beginning with their usual lunchtime rehearsal, attended by Mrs Stagg. We welcomed new members to the group, who did a great job of tackling new music and joining in with some known repertoire. After a short break, the Marlborough pupils arrived and warmed up, while the Recital Hall filled up with children from the Pre-Prep and Prep Schools. 

The afternoon workshop began with a spirited performance of Hungarian Dance No.5 by Johannes Brahms, played by the Marlborough quartet, as well as some solos from Theo (violin), Hamish (cello), and Lottie (viola). The Marlborough College students displayed their passion for music and their instruments, not only in their highly accomplished playing, but also in their answers to all the questions from the floor.

String Sensation spent the remainder of the afternoon learning a new piece under the direction of Mrs Stagg and re-visiting some current repertoire, in preparation for a short concert to parents. Mr Arkwright led some very entertaining clapping and rhythm games to break up the afternoon and by the time the parents had arrived for tea, the children were well-rehearsed, well-refreshed and the programme was ready to present:

Rossini’s William Tell Overture and a Disney Medley (Let It Go/Circle of Life/ Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious), performed by the massed ensemble.

Scarborough Fair, performed by Highly Strung and the Marlborough quartet with Mrs Stagg.

Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No.5, performed by the Marlborough quartet.

A huge thank you to the Marlborough College musicians and staff, for taking time out of their busy schedule; to the Farleigh string teachers, Liz Flower (violin), Mark Frampton (double bass) and Emer Hopkins (cello), who prepared their pupils so well and helped on the day; to Mr Reeves and Mrs Rockhill for their invaluable support on the piano; and to the children, who were wonderfully enthusiastic and engaged all afternoon, and made a great impression. String Sensation - you are sensational!

Teresa Henderson