Academy Spring show hits the right notes!

Members of the Ballymena Academy orchestra on stage during their annual concert last week at The Braid. INBT 13-801H
Members of the Ballymena Academy orchestra on stage during their annual concert last week at The Braid. INBT 13-801H

Packed audiences were treated to entertaining evenings featuring variety and talent in equal measure at the 2015 Academy Spring Concert.

In his foreword to the three-night run at The Braid, principal Stephen Black said: “Practice alone would not be sufficient to achieve the excellence which we will witness and it is on occasions like tonight that one can only marvel at the talent and ability of the young people of Ballymena Academy”.

And, marvel the audiences did from the outset as the Senior Orchestra got the programme underway with superb selections from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ featuring talented young soloists Joshua McIlhagga and Matthew Wright.

The first half was peppered with versions of popular ‘movie’ music including ‘Highlights from Shrek 2’ courtesy of the finely tuned Junior Wind Band, the James Bond theme which was blasted out by the Brass Ensemble and a touching rendition of ‘Where is Love?’ from “Oliver” by first year pupil, Joshua McIlhagga.

In traditional Spring Concert style, variety was key and audiences were kept entertained with a musical mix which included a noteworthy performance of Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Mirlitons by the Flute Trio & String Group; ‘Mo Java’ and ‘Concerto for Garage Band’ by upbeat percussion ensemble ‘Wazo Batto’; Chamber Choir, who proved they’ve ‘got rhythm’ as far as Gershwin is concerned; a rocking guitar solo by final year pupil Jonathan Moore; percussion ensemble BAPE who were on the right track with ‘Take the A Train’; and the Senior String Ensemble with their crowd pleasing performance of Karl Jenkins’ ‘Palladio’.

The fabulous first half was brought to a close by the superb Senior Choir who, in the first of two performances, delivered ‘In Paradisum’ and ‘Abide with Me’ beautifully.

The entertainment just kept coming in the second half which was opened by the Senior Wind Band with film favourites - The Great Escape and highlights from ‘Frozen’. The Academy Chorale then shone with ‘This Little Light of Mine’ and ‘Make You Feel My Love’ and Senior Strings presented two plucky performances with Vivaldi’s L’Estro Armonico and the toe-tapping ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’.

Junior Strings were on form with Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ as were the Male Voice Chorus with a ‘Keane’ classic; BAPE took to the ‘Sunset Road’ as only they can; and the tube tapping ‘Boom Whackers’ proved a real hit with their take on Offenbach & Liszt.

Talented A2 music student Cameron Rodgers performed a note perfect piano solo of Debussy’s melodic Arabesque taking the evenings to an upbeat conclusion by the Senior Choir’s roof-raising versions of pop hit ‘Happy’ and Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’ featuring guitarist Jonathan Moore and solo vocalists Rachel Crothers, Ethan Savage, Dylan Hamill, Blaze Lambert, Bryony McCleery and Callie Middleton.