Mrs E. Jackson, Subject Leader: Music, writes:
Every year, as the House Music concert approaches, I wait anxiously to see how, and indeed what, our students will perform. Some groups I will have heard dozens of times before, the cacophony of their various practices spilling out from every which practice room in the Music department for weeks on end; every time that little bit more in time, that little bit more in tune, that little bit more exciting. Some pieces I haven’t heard at all, the House Captains squirrelling their performers away in various form rooms around the school, practising endlessly.
Every year, when the evening comes (as it did this year on Wednesday 26th April), whether I’ve heard the performances before or not, I am shocked. And I am worried. By now, in my fifth year as a judge for this competition, I am not worried for how the performances will go; time and time again our students have proved as soon as you put them in front of an audience they up their game, they sing full voice, they perform. But instead I am worried because I am tasked with judging between them and to decide who should be named victor of our House Music Trophy and this is no easy task.
Every year our students prove to me and our assembled audience just how talented they are, whether it be singing as part of a large group, or working out their own harmonies, to arranging music for other instrumentalists to play or leading other students in rehearsals. This year was no exception.
The evening takes place in three parts with Houses entering an instrumental, vocal and a free choice piece for judging. The instrumental pieces this year included a wide range of styles, from a hard rock medley from Knebworth, the theme music from The Godfather beautifully orchestrated for Sopwell by Harry Boulton 12S and funk from Ashridge with their arrangement of Car Wash, which included jazz oboe from Annabel Dunstan 8A.
The vocal pieces varied from the small and intimate arrangement of Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love by Brocket, to the large choirs of Ashridge, Sopwell and Offley, with impressive use of part singing.
The final part of the concert included the free choice pieces, where students have total free rein to choose whatever style and arrangement of instruments and voices they wish. Highlights here came from Hatfield, who performed a song written by April Baniqued 13H and from Ashridge who performed a superb rendition of Wait for It from the hit musical Hamilton. This performance encompassed all the things we were looking for in the ideal performance; great musicality, a perfect sense of ensemble and a well thought out performance, which, in this case, included careful and well-rehearsed choreography.
With the standard of performances so high, Mr Brown and I found it difficult to differentiate between all the fantastic performances but by the end of the concert it was clear that Ashridge should be the winners, and so, closely followed by Knebworth and Sopwell in second and third places respectively, they collected their trophy.
Well done to all the 125+ performers that took part in House Music – it was a great performance and you should all be pleased with how far you came and improved from your first rehearsals through hard work and dedication. I look forward to hearing more from you all in future concerts to come.