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Merseyside’s most prestigious concert hall was the venue for a showcase of the musical skills of students at St. Mary’s College in Crosby recently.

More than 250 talented young performers from the college and its preparatory school took to the stage for the 24th St. Mary’s Festival of Music at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool.

The concert featured a wide range of musical ensembles including St. Mary’s award-winning Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Band, Stage Band, Lower School Choir, Chamber Choir and Preparatory School Concert Choir.

The compere for the concert was popular former BBC Radio Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips, with the various ensembles being conducted by St. Mary’s Director of Music, Andrew Byers, and his colleagues Colin Johnston and Joanne Booth.

As in previous years the concert programme featured an eclectic repertoire drawn from a wide range of styles and genres, this time taking the audience on a musical journey from Beethoven to the Beatles, with many stops in between.

Highlights included ‘O Fortuna’ from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, a medley of Lennon and McCartney songs and music from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Audience members were also able to enjoy such diverse musical treats as the finale from Mendelssohn’s Fifth Symphony and a medley of tunes from James Bond films.

Meanwhile the soloists at this year’s festival were Louie Halpin (Preparatory School Choir), Catherine Power and Elsie Manson (College Chamber Choir) and saxophonist Ellis James and trombonist Daniel Jones (Symphonic Wind Band).

In addition to her solo in the choir, Elsie Manson also gave a beautiful solo violin performance of Jules Massenet’s ‘Meditation’ from Thais which was one of the highlights of the evening.

Looking back on the event Director of Music, Andrew Byers, said: “Once again we chose a very ambitious programme for this year’s concert and once again our students rose to the challenge they were set.

“After staging 24 of these festivals there is no greater compliment one can pay to this year’s performers than to say they maintained the exceptional standards set by their predecessors over nearly two and a half decades.

“The musical skills they displayed reflect the huge amount of effort that went in to preparing for the concert, and they thoroughly deserved the wonderful ovation they received at the end of the evening,” added Mr Byers.

St. Mary’s Principal, Mike Kennedy, commented: “The Festival of Music was the result of many months of dedication and hard work by our pupils and I would like to pay tribute to the contribution of everyone involved.

“The success of the event demonstrates our core belief at St. Mary’s that music is a wonderful vehicle for developing students beyond the purely academic, and shaping their characters and personalities in new and often surprising ways.”