Around the World in 80 Minutes

The “Around the World in 80 Minutes” Spring Concert was an event of extraordinary scope and execution, so grand that to say it took the audience on a whirlwind global tour would be an understatement. The afternoon saw a matinée, where we were delighted to welcome not only our own Prep and Pre-Prep, but also pupils from seven of our local primary and state schools, who all enjoyed a shorter version of the concert immensely. The stage was then prepared for the evening's main event.

From the moment Mr Sullivan (Mr Saunders) and Phileas Fogg (Dr Leaman) exchanged the sportsman’s wager at the start of the concert, we knew we were in for something extra special. Aided by Passepartout (Mr Johnson) and Ms Fix (Miss Atkins) and, most importantly, 220 Blundell’s musicians, the journey from London began, circumnavigating the globe and visiting 33 other countries on route. The staging, narrative, and bespoke live videos by OB Jamie Whyte of extraordinary beauty turned Big School into an immersive exploration of our world. This was a feast for the senses with a hugely eclectic variety of stunning musical performances, all aided by the catering department’s magnificent interval spread, complete with hot air balloon!

From orchestral extravaganzas by Brahms, Dvorak, Shostakovich, Grieg and Sibelius, through to beautiful choral pieces by Pärt, Gjeilo, Talbot and Arnalds. From the fun choir arrangements Americana classics to the serene chamber music of Beamish, Bozza and Villa Lobos. From the swinging jazz of the Big Band to the toe-tapping Boys Close Harmony and the multicultural elements, including the Lion Dance celebrating Lunar New Year. From Mr Berrow’s superlative didgeridoo skills to the solos from our Year 13s. Every single item was performed with passion, showcasing the immense dedication and skill of our students.

The concert ended with two haunting pieces; Ola Gjeilo’s beautiful Northern Lights washing across the audience from Big School foyer and the traditional Irish ballad, Lagan Love, with singing teacher Eamonn Mulhall leaving the audience deeply moved. The wager won, Hans Zimmer’s theme tune to Around the World in 80- Days brought the concert full circle with a surprise bang at the end! The performers were met with an overwhelming show of appreciation from the audience, culminating in a standing ovation that was a powerful moment of inspiration for the students.

With 450 audience members and 220 student performers leaving with a buzz of excitement, the evening was a testament to the dynamism of Blundell’s Music Department. Their unwavering dedication and visionary approach turned what could have been a simple school concert into a professional artistic production of immense ambition and unparalleled professionalism.