The four houses at Pocklington School showcased their wide range of musical talent as they competed in the annual House Music Festival.
Featuring Gruggen, Hutton, Wilberforce and Dolman houses, the festival took place over two evenings, with packed audiences in the Tom Stoppard Theatre. The House Music Festival is entirely student led. Pupils choose the songs and musical performances and in the weeks leading up to the competition put a lot of work into rehearsals, arrangements and choreography.
Choral items began most House’s performance. Hutton began ‘Swing Low’ with a lovely solo from Koby Fofie, and then attempted Rachmaninov’s ‘Priidite, poklonimsya’, sung in Russian. Gruggen’s choral highlight was an arrangement of ‘Upside Down’, enthusiastically sung and accompanied by guitar. Dolman produced two pieces: the tender ‘Hallelujah’ by Jeff Buckley, sensitively accompanied by Hayley Harrison, and a more exciting ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’. Wilberforce went for two short extracts from ‘Miss Saigon’, with rousing singing throughout and an excellent piano accompaniment from stand-in pianist Amy Crowther.
Instrumental pieces were varied in their choice of ensemble, and even more so in their musical genre. This was particularly evident in Gruggen’s juxtaposition of sweeping brushes in the style of ‘Stomp’ followed by a Bach concerto for two violins. Hutton arranged a talented group of musicians, performing the theme from ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ and Dolman assembled a small ensemble to perform ‘Cantina Band’ from Star Wars. The largest ensemble of the evening was arranged by Wilberforce for their rendition of the theme to ‘Game of Thrones’, an exciting performance with a good range of dynamics. Wilberforce also featured their talented violinists in the Strauss piece ‘Feuerfest’.
Each house concluded with their finale, a choreographed arrangement of a contemporary song. Hutton certainly excelled in this piece, with a tightly choreographed adaptation of ‘Uptown Funk’, and congratulations to bass player Miles Adesile for holding the band together with the key riff. Wilberforce sang ‘Hey Ya!’, convincing and with a good brass section. Dolman took us back to the 90s with the Rembrandts’ ‘I’ll be there for you’. Finally, the most exuberant performance, colourfully staged and with complete engagement of all performers, was Gruggen’s ‘Happy’, truly uplifting.
After the first night’s performance the adjudicators were able to compliment each House on the standard of their work, and give some advice as to how things could be improved for the second night’s performance. Consequently Wednesday’s performances were further improved. Then came the presentations. The award for the best individual item over the two nights was given to Dolman for their performance of ‘Hallelujah’, but after careful and lengthy deliberation, the overall trophy was awarded to Wilberforce, a popular decision.
More pictures in next week’s (12 February) paper.