At their annual Christmas concert last week Strode College music students delivered a feast of musical entertainment which included an impressive range of musical styles including a choir; an instrumental ensemble; a duet; and a selection of rock bands. ‘A Concert at Christmas’ was a celebration of the lives and legacies of the musical legends sadly lost over the course of 2016 plus a few who are still with us.
The marvellously staged, seamless production started with the College Ensemble delivering ‘Starlight’ by Muse, followed by the wonderfully comic ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ by Irving Berlin, in memory of Gene Wilder, and ‘River’ by Joni Mitchell, led by A level music students and beautifully delivered by A level students and vocalist Emmalia Moorhouse (previously at Westfield Academy and from East Coker).
The jazz group then sprang into action with a cool rendition of ‘Comin’ Home Baby’ by Mel Torme which was impressively delivered.
The flavour of the event then turned positively seasonal as a wonderful version of ‘White Christmas’ by Irving Berlin was then performed by Extended Diploma Music students with Sophie Bryan (previously at Yeovil College and from Yeovil) playing semi acoustic guitar in the auditorium of the theatre, to the delight of the audience, who sang along to the Christmas classic.
The music leapt forward a few of decades and an arrangement of ‘Hotel California’ followed. Jenny Dallimore (previously at Whitstone School and from Shepton Mallet) performed the keyboards and lead vocal on this wonderful arrangement.
An energetic version of ‘Kiss’ by Prince saw lead vocalist Joe Lendon (previously at Crispin and from Cossington) delivering an impressive falsetto, and an entertaining dance on his back! ‘Ace of Spades’ by Motorhead followed, and a spectacular lighting routine supported the powerful vocals from Chloe Crosweller (previously at St Dunstan’s School and from Glastonbury) and equally impressive fake horseshoe moustache sported by Arya Barlow on drums (previously at Frome Community College and from Shepton Mallet). An uplifting rendition of ‘Changes’ by David Bowie finished the first set perfectly.
Following the interval, wonderful and harmonious choral renditions of ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen (arrangement by Jamie Phippen); ‘Comedy Tonight’ by Stephen Sondheim; and ‘Dancing in the Street’ were delivered in style by the College’s Combined Choir.
Following a wonderful acoustic ‘after Eva Cassidy’ version of ‘Autumn Leaves’ delivered by Lizzy Gingell (previously at Westfield Academy and from Yeovil) with Vince Way (previously at St Dunstan’s School and from Glastonbury) on guitar, the students went on to perform classic tracks by Bowie; Viola Beach; Earth, Wind and Fire; and brought the evening to a lively the close, with a rowdy ‘Can I kick it? (Yes you can)’. The audience clapped and sang along as a wonderful evening of entertainment came to a Christmassy close.