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Striking a Chord: 900th Anniversary Whole School Gala Concert

Striking a Chord: 900th Anniversary Whole School Gala Concert

During the penultimate week of the Summer Term, The High School of Glasgow hosted a Gala Concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

In a fitting tribute to the School’s Choir School roots, over 300 pupils from Junior 4 through to Senior 6 took to the stage to perform a carefully curated show which had been months in the making.

The audience were treated to performances from each of the established choirs in the School: the Junior 4 to Junior 6 Choir, the Transitus to Senior 2 Choir, the Senior 3 to Senior 6 (and staff) Choir and the Chamber Choir, alongside performances from the award-winning Pipe Band, Percussion Ensemble, Concert Band, Jazz Band and String Ensemble. Pupil representatives from each group took to the stage to explain what the audience were about to hear, adding a personal touch. Meanwhile, Mr Ford and Mr Campbell were on hand to ensure everything flowed smoothly, delivering some zippy one-liners!

Each performance was simply outstanding, however, the highlight of the evening was a rousing Finale recital of ‘Highland Cathedral’, arranged and kindly lent to the School by Martin Thomson, featuring every single musician and singer from across the evening.

Rector John O’Neill said:

To perform on stage at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is a truly momentous occasion, one that I’m sure our pupils will remember for years to come. It is particularly fitting that the location of this concert, in the heart of Glasgow, is just minutes away from where our School first started as the Sang School of Glasgow Cathedral in the 12th century.

“The Gala Concert was the culmination of many months of hard work and many evening and weekend rehearsals. I spend a lot of time talking to people outside of The High School of Glasgow, and the City of Glasgow, about the quality and the ethos of music making in our School, from our youngest pupils through to our oldest, and the 900th Anniversary Gala Concert was the perfect way to showcase this.

“For our Sixth Year performers, this was their final school concert after years of performing in High School choirs, bands and ensembles, and it was quite the stage on which to end their school musical careers. Of course, for many, this is just the beginning of a lifetime of musical talent, either as a career or a cherished past-time.

“Since the origin or our School, we’ve helped children to find their voices and 900 years later, this statement holds true. Congratulations to every single person involved in the Whole School Gala Concert and thank you to all those who came along to show their support to our young musicians and singers.”

Key to the success of the evening was Mrs Sarah Stuart, Director of Music, alongside her Music Department colleagues and conductors, as follows:

Pipe Band

Mr Bradley Parker
Mr Kerr McQuillan

J4-J6 Gala Choir

Miss Elspeth Carnall

Transitus-S2 Gala Choir

Mrs Jane Tierney

Senior Choir

Mrs Sarah Stuart

Chamber Choir

Mr Frikki Walker - the School will bid a fond farewell to Mr Frikki Walker who is retiring at the end of this session.

Percussion Ensemble

Mr Lachie Birch

Concert Band

Ms Michelle McCabe

Jazz Band

Mr Scott Lygate

String Ensemble & Finale

Mr Bernard Docherty

The evening was also made possible thanks to a significant financial contribution from Professor Sir Michael Bond. This ensured the School was able to book the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the occasion, giving pupils the chance to play in this prestigious venue.

With the summer holidays almost upon us, the 900th anniversary celebrations will pause before resuming in September as follows:

  • 900km Cycle in aid of the Bursary Fund – Wednesday 18 September to Thursday 26 September
  • HSOG’s first Giving Day – Tuesday 24 September to Wednesday 25 September
  • Annual Commemoration and Thanksgiving Service at Glasgow Cathedral – Thursday 26 September
  • Whole School Expressive Arts Exhibition – October 2024 (date TBC)
  • Nine Lessons and Carols at Glasgow Cathedral – Monday 16 December


A gallery of images from the Gala Concert can be viewed below

900th Anniversary Whole School Gala Concert