Whilst this mainly involved schools from the Springwood cluster, pupils from 11 different schools were involved in what has become a festival of primary music in West Norfolk.
The concert started with a short performance from Ivan McCready’s cello ensemble. For the past two years, Springwood has provided a small number of pupils, mainly from Fairstead, with scholarships to encourage new players, and the success of this was plain to see with some high quality playing.
Following on from this was the String Orchestra with over 60 players. Under the guidance of Elaine Sargent and Matthew Lee, it was clear that the young players were well rehearsed and enjoying themselves, producing a vibrant sound that filled the Minster.
Next came the Wind Band, with, once again some 6o players. Much of the band rehearse every Monday after school at Springwood, with Year 7 pupils also playing in the band. This provides students with a sense of continuity when moving up from Year 6. This is run by Richard Hall and Deborah Cooper, and the enthusiastic playing was a joy to witness. The concert had a World War I theme running through it, and the band included performances of three WWI songs in their selection.
We are always keen to show the young players what they could achieve if they keep playing, and were delighted that Springwood’s Big Band came along and performed two numbers under the direction of Eddie Seales.
The final group of the evening, the 170 strong Combined Primaries Choir, consisting mainly of year 5 & 6 pupils, provided a rousing finale with some wonderful singing. They started off in a slightly sombre mood with a performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Old Abram Brown’ as part of the ‘Britten and Beyond’ festival to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the composers birth. This was followed by renditions of two WWI songs – ‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ and ‘It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary’ which involved full audience participation. Finally, the choir sent the audience home in an upbeat mood with performances of ‘Love, Shine a Light’ and ‘Happy’.
It was a fantastic concert, the culmination of much work behind the scenes in the primaries and two days hard rehearsal at the Minster, which was a wonderful showcase for the development of music in West Norfolk.