Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 15.57.39Student musicians have been praised for their talent and poise after performing alongside professionals in the inspiring setting of The Bowes Museum.

Members of the Barnard Castle School orchestra and soloists played before a full house at the Friends of the Bowes Museum concert, held in the picture gallery at the County Durham museum.

The music scholars joined professionals from the Barnard Castle Festival Orchestra, led by the school’s strings teacher Martin Bainbridge, in first half concertos opening with Telemann’s Concerto for Four Violins.

Year 11 students Ceara Sutton-Jones, Michael Liu and Nathan Barker, and David Goldberg, who is in Year 10, played solos and cellist Stephanie Schnurr played continuo. Nathan Barker then played the challenging Second Violin Concerto by Haydn.

Ceara gave a breath-taking performance of The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams before Sam Farquhar closed the first half with the last movement of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto.

The second half of the concert was a stirring performance of Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ with soprano Philippa Dearsley, mezzo-soprano Georgia Schneider, tenor Simon Lee and bass Neil Turnbull and the Barnard Castle Choral Society, accompanied by the Festival Orchestra and the students

Concert director and director of music at Barnard Castle School Simon Dearsley said: “The audience saw an exceptional line up of music played by our very talented school musicians accompanied by the Barnard Castle Festival Orchestra, which is made up of experienced local professional players.

“The performances were made more poignant by the extraordinary images of the crucifixion surrounding the audiences and performers – Haydn could not have wished for a more appropriate setting.”

Headmaster Alan Stevens added: “Our musicians were simply outstanding. Ceara’s Lark Ascending was the highlight of the entire evening – the audience was rapturous.

“Not many children of their age – or indeed, adults – have either the ability or the opportunity for such a fabulous experience. Many congratulations to everyone involved.”