In the mid 1500’s Richard Mulcaster, the first Headmaster of Merchant Taylors’ School, set out five elements of education that all children should learn: reading, writing, drawing, singing and playing  musical instruments. Centuries later it is safe to say that the curriculum as a whole has been enhanced, but Mulcaster surely would be pleased that the Company brought together all of its associated schools to focus on the latter two elements in particular.

On the 5th March, over 300 students from 11 schools came together over 2 days eventually to perform at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. It was a spectacular evening, orchestrated by Mr David Holroyd of MTS Crosby and enjoyed by hundreds of people in the audience, which included special guests, the High Sheriff of Merseyside, the Lord Mayor and the Bishop of Liverpool.

Allll of the Merchant Taylors’ Associated Schools participated in this event and everyone, especially each school’s Director of Music and their students, deserve particular thanks and congratulations for making it such a special evening.  Since 2000, the last time a combined concert was performed, more schools have become part of this Associated School group, with students travelling from across the UK to participate, from:

Foyle College, Northern Ireland

The King’s School in Macclesfield,

Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School, Crosby,

Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School, Crosby,

Merchant Taylors’ School, Northwood

Merchant Taylors’ Prep School, Northwood

St. Helen’s School, Northwood

St. John’s School, Pinner

St. Saviour’s and St. Olave’s School, Southwark

Wallingford School, Oxfordshire

Wolverhampton Grammar School, Wolverhampton

In the first half of the concert each school showcased its own musical talent, resulting in a stunning performance from contemporary songs to jazz numbers to classical music. After the interval over 300 students assembled for a mass choral and orchestral performance of Pucinni’s Messa di Gloria, which was absolutely outstanding and the image created was of an incredibly powerful and moving piece.

There was no doubting the joint and individual skills and musicianship, but the impact of the whole represented by the sensational effect of Puccini’s Mass so beautifully brought together by the skills of the conductor, Mr David Holroyd, was unforgettable. Indeed, it is extraordinary to think that the students only had a day and a half of rehearsals as a whole group, which only shows how much work each Director of Music put in beforehand, on top of their ‘normal’ music programme at school.

After a full day of rehearsals on Friday 4th March, a reception was held for the students in the Crypt of the Metropolitan Cathedral. It was an opportunity for the participants to let their hair down and get to know each other a little better. It was a fantastic venue and the evening started with a local band playing current hits and this was succeeded with school groups providing the entertainment for each other. One of the wonderful ‘side effects’ of this event was that students who had only met a few hours before, performed some of their favourite songs together onstage. This precisely shows how through shared musical experiences new friendships and bonds are formed.

The whole concert would not have been possible without the huge amount of effort that went on behind the scenes from all the schools and in particular our hosts for the weekend, Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ and Girls’ Schools in Crosby. All guests received the benefits of the terrific hospitality and initiative shown by the host schools, led by Mrs Louise Robinson at the Girls’ School and by Mr David Cook at the Boys’. Alongside the Director of Music and conductor Mr David Holroyd, they had both led from the front in the planning and execution of this event, and to them and to all their wonderful team who had really gone the extra mile for us, we say a very sincere thank you.

Over the last couple of years the Education Committee have prioritised bringing together its Associated Schools; the mutual identity of the schools have never been stronger than in the concert. The hard work of so many paid off with a stunning evening of the most fantastic music, and as the Master put it in his closing speech, ‘it is good to know that the ‘wow’ factor is alive and well and living in Liverpool this evening!’

Finally, it seems fitting to return to the Company’s motto: ‘Concordia Parvae Res Crescunt’, which translates to ‘With Harmony Small Things Grow’. This motto was brought to life by this venture and we very much hope that members of the Company will join us in support of the next concert, details of which shall be publicised in the near future.