The Courage Hall was at capacity for Wednesday night’s much-anticipated House Music event, and for the students of West House, it culminated in a celebrated win.
After just 12 school days in which to practise, students of varying musical ability and age came together in their Houses to produce the traditional Partsong, Ensemble and Unison performances, This was all under the watchful eye of this year’s guest adjudicator, Pete Harrison, a regular guest conductor and presenter with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
This year’s Partsong was the cheery ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ by Calvin Carter and James Hudson, (arranged by Kirby Shaw), and every group took to the song with an upbeat tempo, often with standout solo performances to the delight of the crowd, with the exception of School House, who took things slightly slower and were praised by the adjudicator for taking the song as it was written. East House, conducted by super soprano Hannah Walker, who will be playing the part of Fantine in this year’s Winter Musical, Les Miserables, came out on top in this section, scoring 36 points out of a possible 40.
Next came the Ensembles, starting with South House’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ medley, arranged by Jessica Mills and conducted by an enthusiastic Ryan Fedi. ‘Oh What a Night! 40 Years of Bangers’ was the title of East House’s arrangement, put together and conducted by Elizabeth Hepburn-Braham, featuring a rousing ‘drum-off’ between Jacques Marais and Thomas O’Sullivan. Boarder Felicia Chan received a special mention for her Horn playing during School House’s rendition of ‘A Million Dreams’ from The Greatest Showman, which she also arranged and conducted.
Weald House, the 2018 champions, decided upon a Shrek Medley, arranged by Catherine Prior, who kept the beat supplied by Sebastian Bloom’s measured conducting by playing the Marimba. West House donned sunglasses for their Stevie Wonder Medley, arranged and conducted from the back by Deputy Head of School and saxophonist Shiv Patel, with excellent guitar work from Thomas Hodgkinson. Shiv later won the Arrangement prize
Finally, North House brought a Grease Medley to proceedings, arranged and conducted by Deputy Head of School Ellen Fasham, who won the Conductor prize, kept together by the talented Bessie Taggart on drums, who won the prize for instrumental performance. North House were the eventual winners with 35 points.
After a short break, the Unisons began with South House’s uplifting ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, conducted by Megan Buntrock and Matz Kiernan, adorned in a bright red three piece suit to represent South’s colours. East House chose SClub7’s ‘Reach for the Stars’, directed by Nia Richards and Grace Cannell, ending in a final cry of ‘East’ with their fists in the air to much applause from their fellow House students and second place from the judges.
The Foundations’ ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ was Weald’s choice, conducted by Cassie Peacock and Clarise Castleman, with some imaginative props held up intermittently from the back row.
School Housemaster Steve Taylor was marching up and down the aisle to encourage the students of his House to adopt the actions of Peter Kay in the ‘Is This The Way To Amarillo’ video for their Unison choice, ably conducted by Vittoria Gallina and Glebs Ribzamens; and Ethan Cooper said he channelled ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ to conduct West House’s ‘Shut Up And Dance’, featuring some energetic dancing on the floor from two junior members of the House. Their performance received maximum marks from the judges.
Once again North House brought an end to the section with their version of Coldplay’s ‘Vida La Vida’, conducted by Head of School Evie McKnight.
On awarding the prizes, a virtually speechless Headmaster Michael Bond paid tribute to all pupils who took part, and said in 25 years of teaching it was the best House Music event he had ever seen. “The overall trophy went to West House, the School was undoubtedly the winner.”
To see photos of the event, click here.