Season to be ‘Colly’ at annual festive concert

The Collyer's Choir (photo by Collyer's student press photographer, Dom Rees) SUS-151215-095521001
The Collyer's Choir (photo by Collyer's student press photographer, Dom Rees) SUS-151215-095521001

Last week Canon Guy Bridegwater and St Mary’s Parish Church, on the Causeway in Horsham, hosted the Collyer’s annual Christmas Concert.

The packed congregation enjoyed a wonderful evening of festive music and readings by students and staff.

On arrival, Soloists Beth Adams and Delyth Simons, with Brass Ensemble and the Congregation, performed ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’. All then enjoyed a technically brilliant performance of ‘Lully, Lulla and Lullay’, from a Vocal Quartet, comprising Emily Batchelor, Elizabeth Britten, Henry Purser and Louis Timperley. Arthur Mui’s incredible Piano solo of Deuxieme Scherzo was followed by the Congregation and Brass Ensemble’s ‘The First Noel’.

The Collyer’s Choir, directed by Max Higdon, entranced everyone with ‘Carol of the Bells’, ‘The Lamb’, ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Silent Night’. A Vocal Septet (Delyth Simons, Beth Adams, Vicky Robertson, Eric White, Charlie Ghazi, Thea Elvin and Max Higdon) then performed a quite brilliant ‘White Winter Hymnal’.

Throughout the evening students, family, friends, governors, teachers and the Horsham community were also treated to excellent readings from Stephen Ottley, Holly Schofield and Principal Sally Bromley.

As the evening drew to a close, three members of the Collyer’s String Quartet (Emily Batchelor, Clare Packham and Thea Elvin) beautifully performed Haydn’s Presto, Minuet and Trio in B flat before the Congregation with Brass Ensemble came together for a rousing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’.

The Big Band featuring Madeleine Snowdon on vocals and directed by Mike Lavelle rounded-off a special night with superb performances of popular classics including ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’, ‘In the Mood’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.

Assistant Principal, Melanie Russell, was delighted: “Stunning. Well done everyone! A real Christmas cracker!”

Vice Principal, Steve Nicholls was thrilled: “Wow! Breath-taking performances all-round! These phenomenally gifted performers have certainly produced an outstanding Collyer’s concert to live long in the memory. Thoroughly enjoyable and uplifting from start to finish.”

Other stars on the night included Musical Director Mark Elvin, Dan Page (Assistant Musical Director) and Keith Burton, who provided technical support. Collyer’s much loved Linda Macleman worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the event possible, while Clare Woods (College Council Manager) and students Ella Rowbotham and Jennifer Inglis-Taylor took a collection at the concert, to raise funds for the children’s charity, Starlight. At the end of the evening over £300 had been raised, which was a fantastic achievement!

Canon Guy Bridgewater told the congregation: “Like me, I know all of you are glowing with pride and gratitude. I’m proud to be connected to Collyer’s and I’m extraordinarily grateful to these students for showing so much commitment and talent tonight.”

Collyer’s principal, Sally Bromley said: “A huge thanks to Canon Guy Bridgewater, governor at Collyer’s, for allowing us to hold our concert at St Mary’s again this year. It is a Collyer’s tradition not to be missed. I was immensely proud of the students’ performances. What gifted young people! The audience was visibly moved when Emily, Elizabeth, Henry and Louis sang ‘Lulla, Lulla Lullay’, mesmerised by Arthur Mui’s piano solo and roused by the Big Band’s big sound. ”

Report contributed by Collyer’s. Picture by student press photographer, Dom Rees.