Paralympian Rachel Morris MBE was the special guest of Dan Eley at the Foundation’s Spring Benefit Concert where Godalming College students performed a fantastic array of musical genres to a packed audience, which also included the Mayors of Waverley and Godalming and representatives of Surrey Youth Focus, the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and Surrey Youth Services.
Rachel has overcome huge adversity to win two Para Olympic Golds in cycling and rowing. She befriended Dan Eley at Stoke Mandeville in 2010: Her message of spirit and determination inspired him to continue his work with destitute youngsters, despite his paralysis. She gave a heart-warming and motivational speech which praised the hard work our Music students and encouraged them to remain dedicated to their Music studies so that they too can become champions in their field.
The music department at the College is well known for its excellent performances and the concert at the United Church, did not disappoint. Around a hundred students who take part in music at the College in a full programme of extra-curricular activities supported by the music department. The Concert Orchestra, Jazz Band, Chamber Choir and Godalming College Singers, host of individual performances brought a unique flavour to the evening, with music to meet all tastes. Some highlights of the first half included the theme music from Schindler’s List performed by the Concert Orchestra featuring rousing soloist Rosie Sutton, a medley of Les Miserables songs performed by the Concert Orchestra, a lively performance of Don’t Go Breaking My Heart from the Godalming College Singers and an upbeat rendition of St Thomas by the Jazz Band. A level Music student, Lizzie Baumberg led the college’s wind quintet to an extremely professional performance as part of her gold Arts Award leadership project, whilst Frankie Gale and Elizabeth Knatt performed an energetic clarinet duet which got everyone’s toes tapping! Jack Reynolds performed a song he had written himself with Gabriel Ramswell. The final of the first half of the concert was punctuation by a dramatic performance of Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ by the Godalming College Singers and the Jazz Band which was arranged by Toby Anderson (A level Music student). The performance accompanied an emotional photographic presentation of Dan’s journey from his rehabilitation to supporting young people in Columbia.
The second half started with an up tempo trio of performances from the Jazz band including Beyond The Sea and Take Five, followed by three beautiful choral pieces which were excellently performed by the Chamber Choir. The second half also saw grand, jaw-dropping solos from Alice White and Eyra Norman. Some audience members mistook these students to be professional musicians due to the talent and maturity they are able to perform with. Alice performed Czardas by Monti on the violin, whilst Eyra sung Pierrot by Debussy and Una Voce Poco Fa by Rossini. The evening ended with an energetic performances of You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray and an Abba Medley performed by the Concert Orchestra.
Dan Eley led the congratulations for a wonderful evening and explained what a triumph it was for young people from Godalming College to give their time and lend their talent to raising money for other young people in Surrey who for whatever reason found themselves in a disadvantaged position. The profits from the concert will be used in conjunction with Waverley Borough Council’s Youth Support Team to provide opportunities and challenges for young people who are not in Employment, Education or Training to be part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.