Gala Music Concert 2022John Blois
David Bowie music at a Trinity gala concert?
It may sound like a space oddity but the pop icon’s Life On Mars proved to be a refreshing innovation at the 2022 concert.
Performed by the School Choir and newly formed Commercial Ensemble, it slotted in ideally with this year’s theme of cosmic connections.
Life On Mars complemented the choir and orchestra’s rendition of Haydn’s ‘The Heavens Are Telling’, the musical story of the seven days of creation in Genesis, as well as the orchestra’s performance of Thor’s Hammer, the final movement of Sibelius’s fifth symphony featuring the Norse God of Thunder.
“Including Bowie was a novelty, a break from tradition,” said Dr Michael McGregor, Director of Co-Curricular Music.
“For me it’s all about balance. I hardly think one rock item on a programme of 15 pieces is tearing the veil of classicism.”
Life On Mars marked the gala concert debut of the new contemporary ensemble which Dr McGregor described as “one of the missing pieces of the co-curricular jigsaw puzzle”.
Introducing Bowie’s 1971 cinematic ballad also gave him cause to examine the meaning of the word “contemporary”.
When he asked Year 7 students at the start of rehearsals if they knew who David Bowie was, only one replied in the affirmative, and that was because of the influence of his parents.
Still, it helped the student gain a merit for “demonstrating superior musical knowledge”.
“This year’s Gala sprinkled notions of cosmic forces throughout the performances,” said Dr McGregor.
“Musical associations with the cosmos date back to the ancient Greek philosophers, with their references to ‘music of the spheres’ – natural harmonic tones given off by the movement of the celestial bodies, which the Greeks thought governed aspects of our lives and terrestrial music itself.”
The programme also featured outstanding contributions from the Symphonic Wind Band, Sinfonietta and Big Band.
Concert highlights included:
-Hymn to the Fallen, from Saving Private Ryan, the movie set around the D Day Normandy invasion in 1944.
It was the first time the Symphonic Wind Band performed with a chorus, welcoming the Combined Junior and Preparatory School Choirs in the band’s 70th anniversary year.
-When I Grow Up, from Tim Minchin’s ‘Matilda the Musical’, performed by the Combined Preparatory and Junior School Choirs.
-Tchaikovsky’s Nocturne Opus 19, No 4, arranged for strings alone, performed by the Sinfonietta.
-The Lord Bless You And Keep You, the priestly blessing from the Book of Numbers, used at the conclusion of baptism, ordination, marriage, and other special occasions in Christian worship. Performed by the Trinity Choir and accompanist Greg Kinda.
-North Shore Evening, the companion piece to Matt Harris’s Northshore Morning that the Big Band had played at the previous Gala Concert.
-Super Mario Bros, by Koji Kondo, well known for his video game compositions. This one has a Latin rhythm and was reused in multiple media programmes, including the anime film Super Mario Bros. Performed by the Cello Ensemble.
-Mozart’s Concertante for Violin and Viola, 1st movement, performed by the Academy Orchestra.
The Gala Concert is the flagship ensemble evening for a school where music is studied by some 800 of the 2,200 student body.