Last week on Wednesday and Thursday evening, Westerford’s Music Department showcased their talent at the biennial Classical Pops performance at the Cape Town City Hall. The hall was packed with pupils, teachers, friends and family - all in support and in eager anticipation of seeing the music pupils’ hard work paying off.
Classical Pops, by nature, features a wide variety of different genres and tastes of music: from Vivaldi and Ravel to Guns ’n Roses and ABBA, there was something to be enjoyed by every individual who attended.
The Concert Band began the evening with Ravel’s Bolero, followed by The Carnival of Venice by Julius Benedict, with Leah Paterson-Jones as a soloist on the flute. The Guitar Ensemble then followed with a medley of some of Sting’s greatest hits.
A smaller string ensemble brought us into the classical genre by performing two pieces: Allegro from Concerto Grosso in D minor, and Allegro from Concerto for two flutes, with Robert Dallas and Hanna Todd as soloists in the latter. This was followed by the two marimba bands, who performed three well-known and widely-loved songs by Johnny Clegg, and a catchy medley from the popular movie musical, The Greatest Showman. The choir followed with a beautiful rendition of A Million Dreams, also from The Greatest Showman, featuring vocal solos from Seth Carstens and Tayla White. The orchestra then performed Promenade - an original piece composed for the orchestra by Mr Matthew Reid, a Westerford parent - and thereafter accompanied soloist, Tessa van Schaik, in playing Presto from Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No.1 in G minor.
After interval, much to the Westerford pupils’ delight the staff presented a medley of popular ABBA songs, revealing some hidden talents, including singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. This was followed by Nadia Fokkens playing Adagio-Moderato from Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, accompanied by the orchestra. The Big Band then took the stage and performed two classic jazz pieces: Georgia on my Mind, with an alto saxophone solo by Georgie van der Merwe, and Fever, with a powerful vocal solo from Grace Bagula. Continuing on the more modern side, the Rock Band played Arctic Monkeys’ R U Mine and Guns ’n Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine. They then joined the Choir in performing The Crossing for a very moving tribute to Johnny Clegg.
As the evening came to a close, the Choir, Orchestra and Big Band came together to perform a beautiful medley of pieces from the soundtrack of the award-winning movie, La La Land.
For the grand finale, every single pupil involved in Pops gathered on the City Hall stage to present their own version of The Final Countdown, arranged by Mrs Penny as a tribute to our headmaster, Mr le Roux, in light of his upcoming retirement at the end of this term.
It can easily be said that the many Saturday afternoons, late nights at school and the hours of practising were well worth it. Many thanks must go not only to the pupils who put in an enormous amount of effort to perform as well as they did, but also to the parents of those pupils, for the lifts to and from rehearsals, their constant support, and their payment for their children’s individual music lessons. The event was a proud occasion for everyone involved, and could not have been such a great success without the huge amount of work put in by our full-time music staff members: Mr Narun, Ms Ainsworth, Ms Wayne, Ms Grobbelaar, Ms Thompson and our Head of Music, Ms Penny.
Tessa van Schaik, Grade 11