The MCS Arts Festival really kicked into top gear yesterday with 7 events in one day.
First up was a major musical production at the Oxford Town Hall which was awash with sea shanties and Tudor songs in Alexander L’Estrange’s brilliant piece Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose. The Magdalen Sixth and U4th musicians formed the SATB choir and then 130 Primary school pupils from Botley, St Mary and St John, North Hinksey and Combe Primary Schools joined us for this uplifting piece. It was a wonderfully uplifting performance and the whole audience joined in with some bobbing and clapping along with the sea shanties.
The Summer Art Exhibition opened and drew large audiences. Work from the Fifth and Sixth Form was on display and there was much comment on the diversity, range and individual artistic approaches. There was something for everyone: from huge landscapes to portraiture, photography, sculpture and film.
At the same time more artists were learning how to design a mobile phone cover. The three workshops proved very popular and sold out shortly after tickets went on sale. Participants used computers to set out their designs which were then laser etched on to the phone covers.
Over the Bridge in Magdalen College Chapel, Upper Fourth pupils together with students from the Oxford Academy performed a piece that they had written on the First World War. They had worked on the performance with poet Ian McMillan and composer Ben Park had helped them put the production together.
The Festival then moved on to the Jacqueline du Pre building which was packed out with huge numbers who had come to hear the BBC’s Arts Editor Will Gompertz give a hilarious and insightful talk on modern art and the pictures that have influenced contemporary artists.
There was also a chance to view the Festival’s first pop-up art show featuring works by artists living and working in Oxford.
And finally, Big School hosted the Battle of the Bands, where 8 acts competed for the coveted trophy. We were pleased to open the show by welcoming back OW band Gibraltar. The next seven bands were comprised of current students ranging from L4th to the U6th. The evening was closed by The Detainers – the staff band. The KACE were crowned deserved winners performing all their own material and really stunning the crowd. Big School has never sounded so good!