Yesterday (11th March) the Henrietta Barnett School showcased their annual Choral Society concert at St Jude's Church, at the heart of the Hampstead Garden Suburb.


The evening opened with an impressive organ solo from HBS’s organ scholar; 'Elegy' by Sir George Thalben-Ball was notably played at Princess Diana’s funeral.


The audience was also treated to an arrangement of ‘Adagio in Bb’ (by Mozart) from the Clarinet Ensemble, which was pleasantly and stylistically performed. Mozart composed the quintet, drawing inspiration from the virtuoso clarinettist Anton Stadler, which is only a credit to last night's players’ impressive technical skill.


The third and penultimate item of the concert was ‘Suite for Strings’ (by Dame Ethel Smyth), played by the HBS Chamber Orchestra. Fittingly, as International Women’s Day was celebrated only last weekend (Sunday 8th March), the female composer had been a member of the Suffragettes and even composed their anthem “The March of the Women”. The women’s and gay rights campaigner served two months in Holloway Prison in 1912, and was awarded a dame hood in 1922.


Amongst all this musical excellence, we were given a 20 minute interval to reflect on (or more likely discuss) the remarkable programme so far presented to us - with both quality and professionalism - over a cup of tea, biscuits and other treats on offer.


The highlight of the evening, however, was ‘Magnificat’, by celebrated musician and Londoner John Rutter, most well known in the UK for his carols.


The 40 minute musical setting of the biblical canticle of the same name was both electrifying and emotive - even for those with little experience of classical music, this modern requiem has soaring melodies and captivating rhythms which make for a utterly exhilarating listen.


Some exceptionally talented soprano soloists, students from the school, also featured; Lia, Evie and Gwynnevere who sang Esurientes, Et Misericordia, and Gloria Patri.


This complete work was performed magnificently, as its name aptly depicts - “a great treat” in the words of the Head. Set up in 2005, the Henrietta Barnett Choral Society, a choir which brings together the voices of students, teachers and members of the community alike, was beautifully accompanied by the HBS Symphony Orchestra.


Altogether, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the concert - which would have been impossible without the hard work of the HBS Music Department - and look forward with much excitement to what next year’s concert might bring!


By Isabelle Ho