Collyer’s celebrate ‘Founder’s Day’

Collyer's Choir SUS-150630-093239001
Collyer's Choir SUS-150630-093239001

This week the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, on the Causeway in Horsham, hosted the annual Collyer’s Founder’s Day and Leavers’ Recital.

Founders Day has been celebrated by the institution since 1532, to give thanks to Richard Collyer, who provided in his will for a free school in Horsham, his place of birth.

Canon Guy Bridegwater, Vicar of St Mary’s, welcomed the congregation, who enjoyed an evening of prayer, music and readings. The Collyer’s Chamber Choir (Heads of Choir: Katy Ellis, David Griffiths and Hugh Crook; accompanist: Jake Dickson) began with entrancing versions of “Locus Iste” and “Ave Verum Corpus”. Beautiful performances followed from: Lizzie Giffin, “Aint Misbehavin’ on the clarinet; Beethoven’s “Duo in G major Wo0 26” by Emma Wilcock and Eleanor Snape (flutes) and Scarlatti’s “Sonata K 177” from Lizzie Giffin, Laurie Cuttriss and Vicky Robertson (clarinets).

College Council’s Carys Svendson confidently read “Living by Faith” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18), followed by a dazzling piano duet from Jake Dickson and Hugh Crook (Marches Militaires D.733, No 1&3). Hugh Crook (piano) was then joined by vocalist Katy Ellis for an excellent performance of “What Good Would the Moon Be?” College Council’s Katherine Hamer then read “A Prayer of Praise” (Psalm 27:4-5) with great aplomb.

Collyer’s Principal, Sally Bromley said: “Thanks to Canon Guy Bridgewater and all at St Mary’s for making this important event in the Collyer’s calendar possible. We are also extremely grateful to the talented performers and all those involved behind the scenes for their tireless work. They have made tonight a fitting tribute to our founder, Richard Collyer and all students leaving Collyer’s at the end of this academic year.”

Gifted David Griffiths (trombone) then performed “Elegy For Mippy II” and on the organ Hugh Crook beautifully played “Organ Symphony No. 6, Vivace”, followed by an exquisite reading of “Right with God” (Romans 5:2-5) from Carys Svendson and Katherine Hamer. Seven Bells (coached and directed by Paul Satchwell) then gave wonderful renditions of “Dream a Little Dream” and “Splanky”; followed by Cantoris (vocal quartet comprising Hugh Crook, Katy Ellis, Thea Elvin and David Griffiths) and Jake Dickson (piano) who gave a poignant performance of “Leavers’ Song”.

Assistant Principal, Melanie Russell said: “I’ve been attending Founders Days since the mid 1980’s and I must say the Collyer’s staff and students have once again surpassed themselves! Magnificent!”

After Canon Guy Bridgewater’s reading of the “De Profundis”, traditionally read at Founders Day, the Collyer’s Big Band with Maddie Snowden (coached and directed by the brilliant Mike Lavelle) went down a storm with show-stopping performances of popular classics including “In the Mood”, “September” and “The Jazz Police”.

Vice Principal Steve Nicholls was delighted: “The performances were superb and I’d like to offer particular thanks to the Musical and Artistic Directors: the indefatigable Dominic Leitner and Neil Kendall. Our very own Linda MacLeman and her team have also worked incredibly hard behind the scenes to make tonight possible, so they richly deserve thanks from us all.”

Subject Leader for Music, Dominic Leitner said: “Our student musicians excelled in some incredibly demanding repertoire this year. In a splendidly diverse programme ranging from Schubert to Bernstein, from Beethoven to Earth Wind & Fire, they performed with virtuosity and total engagement. I find the generosity of our students’ musicianship truly inspiring, and I’m confident that our leavers can look forward to exciting musical futures.”

Report and pictures contributed by Collyer’s.