House Music 2017

Arts

House Music is always eagerly awaited and 2017’s competition did not disappoint!

The most subtle of starts, for Stanley House, comprised one second-year girl and a microphone; it sounds sparse, but Sophia Snow had arranged 11 songs over a 4 chord progression, and proceeded to sing over the backing track she had herself created, mixing the songs at the end to create some intriguing new lyrics. Sophia sang with confidence and evident enjoyment, and engaged brilliantly with the audience; a real tour de force.

Sophia was followed by the Stanley First Year Band performing ‘We’ll be the Stars’, featuring Lila Skeet emulating Phil Collins by singing from the (well-played) drum kit, and some excellent additional vocals from Rebecca Jones, Angelina Campbell and Sophie Garner; an immaculately-organised and meticulously-rehearsed performance. Ricky Rim covered scene changes with some impressive violin solo music, full of double stops and virtuosity. The Stanley House Choir sang Pompeii, a capella, with a confident solo from Alex Pelling, a charming ornamented solo from Sophie Merriman, and some effective antiphony between the younger and older members of the House. What an impressive beginning to the House Music finals!

Lovekyn House’s well-planned performance also started with a solo: Anya Aziz’s assured and confident rendition of ‘When I look at you’; her excellent phrasing and tuning, and mature sound, captivated the audience. Lovekyn followed this with possibly the most diverse group of the evening: 3 Lower Sixth Formers, and a First Year – Lucas Dwyer – on drums; all credit to Lucas for handling this situation with aplomb. It was good to hear Fiona Kennedy’s smoky vocals in Paolo Nutini’s ‘Last Request’, and the band was held together the steady musicianship of Ross McGeachie. Lovekyn’s last item was the House Choir, featuring many First Year students with some fetching purple accessories, and rock chick Emily Sprackling on electric bass – how wonderful to have a continuing KGS dynasty of female bass players! Their performance of ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’ showed spirit and flamboyance, and occasional slinky moves from the First Year boys…

Queen’s House’ contribution started with the poised, fearless but calm Jemima Jordan playing ‘Meditation’ from Thaïs, charmingly shaped, from memory, and in her socks! Jemima then joined the Queen’s Choir for a sassy performance of Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’, sung with gusto and entertainingly choreographed. This completed the First Half and the audience willingly partook of the wonderful Music Society’s refreshments to fuel their deliberations of how on earth anyone could judge between such different, entertaining and brilliant performances.

Taverner House kicked off the Second Half by fielding Toby Ison on piano, playing Tchaikovsky’s ‘Song of the Lark’. This sensitive, singing performance was communicated with true musicianship, and the audience were delighted to see Toby when he finally emerged from behind the piano! From angelic First Year, to ‘The Wall’… Grace Lloyd and Peter Dawson created a superb version of this, tautly performed and immaculately executed, complete with drama, suitably deconstructed school uniforms and war paint, paper fight and a mob of feral schoolchildren singing with conviction and passion. The somewhat startled audience loved it.

The musical part of the evening was brought to a close by Walworth House, featuring the superlative xylophone playing of Johan Smith; how does he play so many notes with just two beaters? He also had to contend with a determined dive-bombing mosquito, but managed to fight it off without missing a beat. The following performance of ‘Circle of Life’ featured stunning face painting and custom-made lion t-shirts by Imogen Marinko, as well as KGS’s favourite Nonny Jones on vocals, accompanied by first year choir and djembe players. The phenomenal force of nature that is Imogen also masterminded the last performance of the night, ‘Careless Whisper’, in which she managed to play both piano accompaniment and the famous sax solos, moving seamlessly between instruments, and inspiring her well-drilled singers’ passionate delivery of the lyrics. The audience were all agreed that Imogen must have a ‘time turner’ to be able to produce so much music, and so much art, with such charm and enthusiasm.

The adjudicator, Matthew O’Malley, Director of Music at Tiffin School, had a tough time trying to decide the results for the evening, but gave some excellent, detailed but encouraging feedback to all. In the end, Lovekyn House won the overall competition, which included the earlier rounds before Half Term, but the real winners were the students performing so brilliantly, and the audience having such a good time watching such an entertaining concert. Well done, all!

Miss P Hyde