Sullivan’s annual Spring Concert soared to new heights this year as its venue became the newly refurbished Ulster Hall. This exciting new venture allowed the school to cope with the high demand for tickets to see the music highlight of the year. The Music Department was overjoyed with the interest in the event, and the school’s musicians performed to a full house on the night.On the morning of 18th March 2010, the Ulster Hall was buzzing with the excitement of over two hundred and fifty performers. It was set to be a long day, with over five hours of dress rehearsals to get through in order to put the finishing touches to the concert. The team of music teachers: Mrs Gillian Pitt, Mrs Gillian Hartin, Mrs Julie Harper and Head of Department, Mrs Linda Montgomery - aided by the school’s music tutors and the Ulster Hall staff - spent the day organising stage changes, sound, lighting and ensuring that every pupil knew their place so that the concert would go as smoothly as possible.The night opened with Junior Choir, conducted by Mrs Julie Harper. The choir sang two pieces; an African Medley and “Run” by famous local band Snow Patrol. Other choral performances in the first half included Junior Singers and special guests Priory College. Natalie Addis and Sophie O’Hara also sang a vocal duet composed by Offenbach.The flute ensemble, conducted by Mr Richard Douglas, performed a piece called “Zig Zag Zoo.” This was the first time the piece had been performed in Ireland, and its main aim was to create the effect of several animals through unusual techniques – and in this case, “unusual” included whale noises!
Other highlights from the first half included: the GCSE Rock Group, Saxophone Quartet, Piano Trio, and a solo performance from Tuba player Jonathan Thompson.
The first half was brought to a close by the School Orchestra, conducted by Mrs Gillian Hartin and led by Amy Irvine. Over eighty members played two pieces: “Romeo and Juliet: Introduction and Finale” and the more familiar music from the 2003 film “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
The second half opened explosively with the School Band, conducted by Mrs Gillian Pitt. The band played three pieces: “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “The King of Pop”, a tribute to Michael Jackson, and “Disco Lives” which comprised of three of the most iconic songs of the disco era: “Stayin’ Alive”, “I Will Survive”, and “YMCA” – and yes, audience members were expected to do the actions!
To follow, the school Traditional Group, who may be travelling next year to Washington DC in order to attend local St Patrick’s Day celebrations, took to the stage. The group firstly played two pieces: “Scarce O’Tatties/Lyndhurst” and “Mná na hÉireann”, a traditional air. However, they were not alone on stage for long and were soon joined by a troop of Irish Dancers from The Aisling School of Dance. This made a spectacular performance of the group’s final piece, “Lord of the Dance” from the famous show “Riverdance”
The school’s brass group, conducted by Mr Nathan Power also performed in the second half of the concert. The group played two pieces, “Russian Great Escape” and “The Muppet Show”, both arranged by conductor Mr Nathan Power himself.
Sullivan Singers, conducted by Mrs Linda Montgomery, then took to the stage to sing “Introit” from “Requiem” by Karl Jenkins. This group of singers, involving both boys and girls, will represent the school once again at a concert in Holywood Parish Church in early April. The Sullivan Singers girls also sang three pieces later in the programme.
Former pupil and special guest, Scott Foster, was the next performer. Scott began his percussion studies at the age of ten and later became a member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra and The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain where he was Principal Percussionist. Mr Foster also won Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year in 1998. It was no surprise, then, that Scott amazed the audience with two Marimba solos: “Little Prayers” by Evelyn Glennie and “Taps in Tempo” by Jan Berenska.
The Jazz Group, conducted by Mr Davy Howell, also performed. The group played three pieces: “Chameleon” and “Watermelon Man” by Herbie Hancock, and “Everything” by Michael Bublé - vocals were provided by Albert Mercer.
Following this performance, Mr Stevenson took the opportunity to step forward and say a few words. In his speech, Mr Stevenson expressed his thanks to the school staff and pupils for such a magnificent performance, and the Music Department staff were presented with a small token of appreciation by pupils. Mr Stevenson then went on with great delight to introduce the concert finale.The finale, “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from the 2007 musical “Hairspray” was sung by all two hundred and fifty performers and accompanied by a band made up of a selection of the school’s music tutors. It was fitting that all the performers received a standing ovation from the audience after all their hard work.
The Music Department’s main problem now is making next year’s concert even better!