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St. Mary's students take to the Philharmonic stage


More than 250 talented young musicians from St. Mary’s College took to the stage at one of the region’s most prestigious concert venues recently. The annual Festival of Music event at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall was a showcase for the skills of a range of musical ensembles from the College and its Preparatory School, The Mount. They included the award-winning Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Band, Stage Band, Baroque Consort, Show Choir, Chamber Choir and Mount Concert Choir. There was also a special guest appearance by the choir from English Martyrs Catholic Primary School in Litherland.
The unusual and ambitious repertoire for this year’s concert included the iconic tone poem Finlandia by Jean Sibelius, excerpts from Handel’s The King Shall Rejoice and the complete Suite in Eb by Gustav Holst. On a different note, the audience was also able to enjoy the Second Waltz from Jazz Suite No 2 by Shostakovich and music from the blockbuster movie 1492 - Conquest of Paradise by Greek composer Vangelis. The concert was again compered by popular BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips, and conducted by St. Mary’s Director of Music Andrew Byers, supported by colleague Colin Johnston.
Mr Byers commented, “Our annual Philharmonic Hall concert has become one of the great St. Mary’s traditions and we were all delighted to return to the venue for the17th year in a row. Preparing for the event always involves a huge amount of hard work, but it’s worth all the rehearsal time involved because performing on its famous stage is an experience our students never forget.
Looking back there have been some fantastic concerts over the years, and I am delighted to say that our current pupils maintained this track record of success. I would like to pay tribute to the incredibly high standards of musicianship they displayed at the concert. They fully deserved the standing ovation they received at the end of the evening.”


Singing success for Sophie


A pupil at St. Mary’s has recorded a notable success in one of Merseyside’s most prestigious music competitions. Talented young singer Sophie Clarke from Waterloo finished as overall runner-up in the Southport Young Musician of the Year event held at Holy Trinity Church in
the resort recently. The 16-year-old had earlier won first prize in the solo singing heat for her Year 11 age group (Grades 4-6).
Renowned organist and conductor Professor Ian Tracey, who adjudicated the competition, gave Sophie an outstanding mark of 92. She collected a cash prize of £110 and has been asked by another adjudicator - Holy Trinity’s Director of Music Ian Wells - to sing at his afternoon summer recital at the church in the summer.
Director of Music, Andrew Byers, commented, “As a school St. Mary’s places music very high up the educational agenda so we are delighted at Sophie’s success in this important event. Her achievement reflects not only her musical talent but also the hard work and commitment she has put in over many years. She is a credit to the college and to her singing teacher Ranee Seneviratne."
Sophie starred as Marty in the recent St. Mary’s production of Grease and has frequently performed in the two highlights of the school’s musical calendar - the Festival Music at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall in the spring and the Proms in the Park music and fireworks extravaganza in the summer.

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