November 22nd is the date in the calendar set aside to commemorate St Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Loreto’s music department celebrates this event by inviting students to take part in a concerto competition, giving them the opportunity to display their instrumental talents in a formal setting. This year saw three soloists demonstrating their virtuosity on their chosen instruments, accompanied in superb style by Silvia Lucas, who played the orchestral parts for all three.
Rachel Duff opened proceedings, playing Haydn’s keyboard concerto in D, and impressing adjudicator Dr Richard Whalley, senior lecturer in Music at Manchester University, with her energy, good phrasing and sense of style. Rachel was followed by flautist Daniel Street, who was commended for his impressive breath control, crisp sounds and clear intonation, as he played Muller’s concerto for flute. Euphonium player Oliver Marshall rounded off proceedings, delivering a piece composed originally for trumpet, Hohne’s Slavish Fantasy. Dr Whalley commended the excellent phrasing, good use of vibrato and the general shape and sense of direction displayed by Oliver. In his summing up, Dr Whalley highlighted the technical virtuosity demonstrated by all three players and the high degree of commitment and dedication that leads to performing at this level. He encouraged all three to experiment and take risks in their playing, before awarding the prize to Oliver.
This year, students were invited to compose a choral setting of a poem by Ann Bronte, Music on Christmas Morning. Head of Music David Lloyd-Mostyn, peripatetic music teacher Andy Stamatakis-Brown and an external conductor from Altrincham Choral Society judged the entries, finding plenty to praise in Luke Darbyshire’s piece, before placing it in the runners-up spot and awarding the prize to Jessica Tasker. David Lloyd-Mostyn, speaking on behalf of the adjudicating panel, praised the whole atmosphere created by Jessica in her piece, the ‘singability’ of the lines and the effects achieved with harmonic and modal language. The Chamber Choir has been rehearsing Jessica’s composition and it will be performed a number of times in the run-up to Christmas: at college for the Certificate Evening, at Manchester Children’s Hospital, and then in the more spiritual settings of the Hidden Gem in the city centre, and at the Carol Concert, held at the Church of the Holy Name on Oxford Road.