Xaverian Christmas Music Concert

The Xaverian College Christmas Concert was held at the Royal Northern College of Manchester, and was performed in front of a sold-out audience, this also included the top tier balcony which is a remarkable feat for any concert at the RNCM.  The Honourable Lord Mayor of Manchester and the Bishop of Salford Diocese were guests of honour.  The concert consisted of 130 Xaverian students, music staff, peripatetic staff, prospective Xaverian students and some of the college’s finest former pupils.

The evening began with the wonderful Concert Choir, directed and conducted by Ged Marciniak, they set the festive tone for the evening by performing a selection of movements from A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten.  The Concert Choir was accompanied by the wonderful harpist Elinor Nicholson and was also conducted by one of the college’s finest lower 6 students, Alfie Bousfield.

Following this the Flute Group, directed by Jennifer Dyson, performed a selection of movements from The Nutcracker by P. I Tchaikovsky.  Neil Bowden then conducted the college’s brilliant Brass Band in a performance of Born Free by John Barry and Wrath by Peter Graham.

The concert continued with the Clarinet Group performing some folk inspired music composed and arranged by Coen Wolfgram, they performed his klezmer Suite.  The Clarinet Group were directed by Katherine Blumer.

The incredible Xaverian Big Band, directed by Neil Bowden, then performed Conga by Gloria Estefan/Enrique and Smooth Operator by Sade Adu/Ray St. John.  Following the Big Band, Kyran Matthews directed the Jazz Group in a performance of Spain by Chick Corea.

The first half concluded in the Christmas spirit with the college’s String Orchestra performing Corelli’s Christmas Concerto.  The String Orchestra were conducted and directed by Duncan Reid with Pascal Darley and Megan Hindle on solo violin with Andrew Rogers on solo cello.

The second half opened with the vibrant and flamboyant Percussion Group directed by Joe Luckin.  They performed with their usual energetic manner, starting with Clapping Music by Steve Reich followed by Alarm by Brian Blume.

Thomas Hopkinson and Rachel Abbott then directed the Chamber Choir, they set a reflective, spiritual and seasonal mood.  The Chamber Choir have enjoyed a number of exciting performance opportunities in 2019, including premiering the first piece of their programme at Manchester Cathedral in November.  They sang The Parting Shot by Nicola Lefanu, Adam Lay Ybounden by Boris Ord and Nativity Carol by John Rutter.

Before the Orchestra took to the stage the internationally acclaimed and award-winning A4 Brass Quartet performed some well-known Christmas songs. A4 Brass are Xaverian’s professional ensemble in residence.  The quartet comprises of principal players from some of the UK’s top brass bands, including Black Dyke, Grimethorpe Colliery, Brighouse & Rastrick and Foden’s.  With “technical virtuosity in abundance” these four astonishing musicians perform both lyrical and high-octane works, forming a distinctive and new take on chamber music.  They dazzled the audience with Carol of The Bells arranged by Jonathan Bates, Locus Iste by Anton Bruckner arranged by Chris Robertson and Now Bring Us Some Fuguey Pudding arranged by Jonathan Bates.

The Xaverian Orchestra made up of 120 musicians concluded the concert, they are by far the largest 6th form college ensemble in the UK.  Andrew Levendis conducted the ensemble with an ambitious programme of Persian March by Johann Strauss, Game of Thrones arranged Jay Bocook, Music from The Incredibles by Michael Giacchino, the ”1812” Overture by P. I Tchaikovsky and A Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson.

To end the evening, the Xaverian Orchestra performed Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride as an encore.

The audience gave 3 standing ovations during the Orchestra’s powerful performance.

On show were the highly acclaimed Xaverian ensembles; performances can be seen and heard via the Xaverian Music Department YouTube Channel.

Young Musician of the Year 2019

The Xaverian College Young Musician of The Year Competition was held recently in front of a packed house in the college’s Drama Studio. There was a record number of entries this year and the musicians demonstrated an extremely high level of performance.

The competition has been running for many years and assists students in their preparations for conservatoire and university auditions; giving them invaluable performance experience.

The panel consisted of Xaverian College music teachers and peripatetic instrumental tutors.

The results are as follows:

1st – Josh Hart: Electric Guitar

2nd – Eden Devaney: Voice

Joint 3rd – Alfie Bousfield: Euphonium & Bradley Gore: Alto Saxophone

The adjudication of this year’s competition was extremely difficult. It was an absolute pleasure to hear musicians perform with such maturity, confidence and musicality.

Andrew Levendis

Director of Music

Summer Music Concert

The Xaverian College Summer Concert was held at the RNCM performed in front of a full house. The concert consisted of 125 Xaverian students, music staff, peripatetic staff, prospective Xaverian students and some of the our finest former students.

On show were the highly acclaimed Xaverian ensembles; who attract media attention via their very own Xaverian Music Department YouTube channel.

The evening began with the college big band, directed by Neil Bowden. They performed ‘Gonna Fly Now’ by Bill Conti, followed by ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ by Louis Prima. Following this the flute group, directed by Jennifer Dyson, performed ‘Humoreske’ by Antonin Dvorak and ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’  by N. Rimsky-Korsakov.

Duncan Reid is one of the college’s outstanding chamber music coaches and one of his ensembles, the string quartet, performed the first movement of Joseph Haydn’s ‘Bird’ string quartet. The vibrant and flamboyant percussion group, directed by Joe Luckin, performed ‘Taiko á La Tom-Tom’ by Steven Wulff and ‘Tribal Beat Sound System’ by Kevin Tuck.

The jazz group, directed by Kyran Matthews, stirred the audience with ‘Mercy, Mercy, Mercy’ by Joseph Zawinul and ‘Song for My Father’ by Horace Silver. Neil Bowden then conducted the college’s brass band in a performance of the ‘The Irish Blessing’ arranged by our very own Tom Hutchison and ‘Macarthur Park’ by Jimmy Webb. Following the brass band Duncan Reid directed the string orchestra in a performance of Peter Warlock’s ‘Capriol Suite for String Orchestra’. The concert continued with the clarinet group, directed by Jessica Tomlinson, performing ‘Stemming’ by Nigel Wood.

The first half concluded with the college’s wonderful chamber choir and concert choir, directed by Tom Hopkinson and Ged Marciniak respectively. The choirs are made up of music and music technology students, non-music students and several staff.

The chamber choir performed ‘O Nata Lux’ by Morten Lauridsen, conducted by Tom Hopkinson and ‘Just the Way You Are’ by Bruno Mars, arranged and conducted by Ged Marciniak and accompanied by a string group made up of Xaverian’s professional instrumental staff.

​The concert choir ended the half with ‘Finlandia’ by Jean Sibelius, the ‘Anvil Chorus’ from the opera Il Trovatore and the ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’ from the opera Nabucco by Giuseppe. Verdi. The choruses were accompanied by a chamber orchestra made up of professional instrumental staff and prospective students.

The second half opened with the internationally acclaimed and award-winning A4 Brass Quartet. They performed ‘Toccata’ by Jonathan Bates, ‘Tsunangari’ by Kentaro Sato and ‘Amparito Roca’ by Jaime Texidor. A4 Brass are graduates from the RNCM and are taking the world by storm, they are resident at Xaverian College and one of their members is a former pupil of Xaverian and is one of the college’s brass tutors; Michael Cavanagh.

The enormous college orchestra concluded the concert. Andrew Levendis conducted the ensemble with an ambitious programme of ‘Finlandia’ by Jean Sibelius, ‘The Montagues and Capulets’ from Romeo and Juliet by S. Prokofiev and ‘Batman’ by Danny Elfman. The orchestra performed ‘Star Wars’ by John Williams to end a wonderful evening of music, with the audience providing a standing ovation in a appreciation.