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Ambitious project for RGS music department
2:40pm Saturday 8th September 2012 in Freetime
THE music department at High Wycombe's Royal Grammar School has taken on an ambitious project, which will be performed this weekend.
They will stage a full production of Walton's Belshazzar's Feast at Watford Colosseum, which is a tale of ambition and pride, with a 250-strong choir and 200-piece orchestra with full brass section.
According to the Old Testament book of Daniel, the writing on the wall, which appeared at the mighty banquet staged by King Belshazzar, ruler of Babylon, foretold the king’s certain doom.
Although ambitious this music department has a proud heritage of producing outstanding musicians, like the violinist Tom Aldren, leader of the National Youth Orchestra, and Simon Khan, better-known as the internationally acclaimed beat-boxer Schlomo. T
he concert was conceived by the school's Head of Music, Tim Venvell. It forms part of a year of celebrations marking the 450th anniversary of the founding of the school.
He said: "We needed something spectacular and truly memorable. It's rare for anyone to stage Belshazzar's Feast as Walton originally envisioned it, let alone a school.
"But we have so many old boys, current students and friends of the school who support the musical activities here that I thought we could create something on a grand scale. We've all been thrilled by the response; it's going to be an incredible evening."
The full programme for the evening also features Handel's Zadok The Priest, Sibelius' violin concerto, with Tom Aldren returning as soloist, and, with a nod to Jubilee year, Walton's Orb And Sceptre, originally written for the coronation.
"We chose the Colosseum because of the marvellous acoustics and the splendour of the setting," explained Mr Venvell.
"When you have an ensemble of this size, you need plenty of room and the RGS Queen Elizabeth Hall for once simply was not big enough.
"It's a historic concert for a historic year in the life of the school. Everyone is looking forward to celebrating our 450th birthday in unforgettable style."
Belshazzar's Feast, performed by the RGS 450 Choir and Orchestra, is at the Watford Colosseum, on Sunday September 9 at 6.30 pm. Tickets are available from the Colosseum Box Office on 0845 075 3993. Or visit www.watfordcolosseum.co.uk
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