Senior Strings meets every Tuesday after school for string players at Grades 5-8. We enjoy playing music from the Baroque era right through to Jazz and Film Music. We join up with the senior wind, brass and percussion players to form the Senior Orchestra. We also perform at Christmas Concerts and The Spring Concerts. We have also won many top awards at Music Festivals every year.
Senior Strings made a very successful comeback after the pandemic, performing virtually at Christmas time for an online Concert for local primary schools, and then to live congregations and audiences at the Carol Services and Spring Concerts. For the Christmas video presentation we recorded ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ which we felt was appropriately upbeat for primary school kids, with the added benefit of Mr Ross on the drum-kit, who pushed us to our limits with the tempo! The performance was enjoyed by many primary schools and many on Facebook.
Then Senior String Ensemble members took part in the live Carol Services at First Ballymena Presbyterian church, playing the beautiful Baroque piece ‘Pastorale’ from Corelli’s ‘Christmas Concerto’. This was an especially meaningful event as we met in person for the Carol Services after the many restrictions we faced from COVID.
After the Christmas period we started preparing for the school spring concerts and Ms Durston decided on two very contrasting pieces. We revisited the Vivaldi Concerto for two violins in D minor which we had prepared for the concert in 2020. Sarah-Jane Taylor and Mia White both took the solo parts and were sparkly and magnificent in their rendition. I had the task of playing the solo cello part and it was fun to be able to finally play it to a live audience. Vivaldi was known as the ‘Red Priest’ and wrote a lot of his violin concertos for girls he was teaching in a local orphanage and the technicalities required were incorporated into his pieces to allow his pupils to develop their technique. We certainly made huge progress with our technique and ensemble skills thanks to this piece! We followed our performance of the Vivaldi with an ABBA Medley which included Mama-Mia and Dancing Queen and we all enjoyed letting our hair down and being supported by Callum McKibben on drums, Reuben on bass guitar, not to mention Mr Thompson and Ben O’Hagan’s fantastic energetic piano playing! The foot-tapping favourites from ABBA went down a treat at the concerts and we were all on a real high as we received enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Overall, Senior Strings had a really rewarding and uplifting experience this year and I would like to thank my mother Ms. Durston for all her hard work directing and rehearsing the Senior Strings. However, we won’t miss the frantic rush to get dinner after Tuesday afternoon rehearsals! Finally, a big thank you must go to all members of Senior Strings for their diligence in weekly attendance and all their hard work and dedication.
Caoilin Olphert Year 14