STUDENTS alumni and staff from St Benedict’s School joined professional soloists for a concert in Ealing Abbey to mark the school’s 120th anniversary on Saturday (26).

The concert opened with Haydn’s Symphony No. 104, and the St Benedict’s orchestra conveyed the mixture of drama, lyricism, dramatic fury and exuberance of the composer’s final symphony.

Next came a new commission by alumnus and composer Samuel D. Loveless, who is in his final year of a Masters in Composition at the Royal College of Music.

Samuel’s musical career began as a chorister at Ealing Abbey, while the current St Benedict’s director of music, Chris Eastwood, taught him A-level music.

‘Soul’ is written for choir, chamber orchestra and organ, and musical influences in the piece include plainsong, choral music spanning 600 years and the harmonies and rhythms of African music.

Finally, the St Benedict’s Consort Choir and Orchestra returned to the music of Haydn, with an uplifting performance of his Nelson Mass.

They were joined by four professional soloists, soprano Iúnó Connolly, mezzo-soprano Rebecca Stockland, tenor Tom Cragg and baritone Theo Parry.

Andrew Johnson, head of St Benedict’s, an independent Catholic day school in Ealing, said: “This was the most wonderful concert for the school’s 120th anniversary, with amazing performances by our talented musicians, superbly led by Chris Eastwood.

“It was made even more special by the premiere of ‘Soul’, an intriguing, beautiful piece which was perfect for the occasion.”