May 26th, 2012
In a poignantly skilful evening of music making, the Upper Sixth leavers took their farewell with the customary Leavers’ Concert. On a warm summer’s evening, the library was packed with parents, friends and teachers, gathered to listen and celebrate the group’s musical contribution to the School. The evening was dominated by singers, as this year group was particularly blessed with a range of accomplished vocalists. They sang in duets, small groups and larger ensembles, covering a wide repertoire, with Eleanor Rosser-Smyth’s witty performance of Someone is Sending Me Flowers and the Barbershop’s Beach Boys Medley being particularly memorable. There were also terrific acoustic ensembles reprised from the House Music competition, and snatches of jazz with piano, saxes, bass and drums, piano from Alex Shavick, Max Thomas, Nick Fleet and Chris Springthorpe. Jonathan Roche performed a Grieg violin sonata and Chris Springthorpe gave a sonorous rendition of Bloch’s Jewish Prayer on the cello. As always, this was a joyful evening of music, accompanied by a dose of heady emotion.
May 19th, 2012
The reform of the House of Lords is undoubtedly a topical political issue and so there was no better person to give an opinion on the issue than Baroness Meacher. Lady Meacher, a Nominated Peer, set out how the House of Lords works, its purpose, and potentially, its future. Faced with a barrage from questions from the audience, Lady Meacher examined the case for reform, something she supported. She argued that the number of hereditary peers was far from justifiable, but agreed with assertions that it was certainly beneficial to have peers who have been in positions of expertise, be it in the medical, security or educational world. A fully elected house was equally dismissed, although the introduction of some elected peers, as outlined in the Queen’s Speech was, in her eyes, reasonable because it would avoid the House becoming a copy of the Commons, whilst giving it more power and legitimacy.
Baroness Meacher’s talk brought to a close the series of General Studies for the year.
Report by Wilkie Hollens
May 18th, 2012
Sixth form biologists have been very successful in the 2012 Biology Olympiad, receiving a range of commendations and medals. The British Biology Olympiad is run by the Society of Biology and is designed to challenge and stimulate gifted students with an interest in Biology to expand and extend their talents. It is open to all A level students in the UK. Participants are required to complete a two hour paper covering a wide range of Biological topics including material outside the A level specification. Silver medals were won by Phil Ruis and Alex Shavick , while Phil Madgwick, Max Greenfield, Jonathan Phillips, Tom Girdlestone and Rosie Nicholls received Bronze medals. Chloe Hall was Highly Commended and Jasmine Fox, Gohar Khodadoost, Tomi Ashaye and James Hepher were Commended.
May 15th, 2012
St Albans U18 footballers rounded off their season with a cup final victory against Verulam School at Clarence Park. Leading 2-0 at half time, after goals from Kit Akin-Agunbiade and Alex Goldstone, the team had to endure constant pressure from Verulam in the second half, with the ball seldom far away from the St Albans goalmouth. Keeper Ben Reed was forced to make a number of key saves, tipping several balls over the bar with his finger tips. A late jinking run and sweet finish by Kane Vincent-Young sealed the match, however, leaving the team ecstatic at the 3-0 victory. Winning the St Albans & Harpenden District Cup Final was the culmination of splendid run of form, beating St Columbas 2-0, achieveing a narrow 3-2 win over Beaumont in extra time and comprehensively beating Sir John Lawes 5-0 in the semi-final. Coaches David Forbes-Whitehead and Bill Wilson are delighted that this group of players have been able to fulfil the promise of the last few seasons.
May 12th, 2012
The Spring Concert defied the rainy weather with an enjoyable and varied programme. The String Ensemble opened with an accomplished and contrasting performance of Andante Cantabile, closely followed by the Clarinet Ensemble’s lively rendition of Helen’s Dance and the Two Norwegian Dances. The audience was encouraged to ‘guess the theme tune’ with The Sinfonietta’s vibrant performance of the Match of the Day theme. After a slight music sheet mishap, the Senior Brass Ensemble entertained with Goldfinger and the humorous Come Landlord and Fill the Flowing Bowl. The Sax Ensemble performed The Man I Love and the aptly named Sax Classics, which featured some impressive improvisation. The Concert Band played the audience into the interval with enthusiasm, with Take Five and Slipstream, under the direction of Mr Craig.
‘Mainstream’ Jazz Band was as entertaining as always in their dynamic performances of Now is the Time, Come Rain or Shine and the well-known Caravan – offering opportunities for many musicians to show off their improvisational skills. The Young Wind Band played the inventive Five Chord Trick, while the unusually formed string-quartet of two violins and two cellos delivered Mozart’s Presto and Rondo.
The evening incorporated a number of solo performances from Upper Sixth leavers, Nick Fleet giving a beautifully lyrical performance of Brahms’ Romance from op. 118, Max Thomas also playing the piano in a rich and assured rendition of Liebestraume. Ellie Rosser-Smyth entertained with the lively Donne Vaghe, contrasting with James Mohajer’s haunting performance of Is My Team Ploughing.
The Barbershop group was as enjoyable as ever in their confident performances of Steal Away, Aura Lee and Bushes and Briars, while the Percussion Ensemble ended the evening on a high with the World Premiere of their own piece Heaventh 7even within which each performer had the opportunity to come to the forefront of their ensemble.
Report by Eleanor Rosser-Smyth