The House Song Competition is one of the highlights in many of the student’s calendars and this year was no different. This year's Abba-themed competition saw all house groupings record their entries, one main choir performance of an Abba number, and one chamber choir entry. The performances were live-streamed. Boarding houses watched from their common rooms, whilst the days houses were invited to watch the competition together in the Johnson Hall.
The first choir (Choir G) comprised of Orchards and Abbey houses, singing Lay All Your Love On Me, conducted by Lottie, and accompanied by Jon Boyle. This choir used choreography to enhance their excellent performance. Their wonderful chamber choir entry saw Olivia conduct an intriguing rendition of the atmospheric song Royals by Lorde, including finger snaps which added another level to their performance.
Following this, we saw the Year 9 houses; Ivythorn, Millfield, Keen’s Elm and Acacia (Choir H) sing Fernando, conducted by Claire Rose with Jon Boyle on piano. Opening with eight students singing a group solo, the rest of the choir bowed their heads behind, creating a compelling start to their performance, something which was mentioned in Simon Chalk’s adjudication. As the largest group of students, the choir did a great job of sticking together and creating a fantastic ensemble sound.
The third choir to perform was Choir A; Kingweston and Martins, singing Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! conducted by Laila, with Jon Boyle accompanying. This dramatic number was articulately sung, providing a very convincing and brilliant performance. The group’s chamber choir performed Some Nights by Fun, conducted by Ellis. There was excellent use of body percussion to keep rhythmic solidity, as the choir split into several parts, featuring several beautiful solos.
After, Holmcroft, Warner and Walton (Choir B) joined forces to sing their rendition of S.O.S, conducted by Toby and accompanied by Sam. Their subtle use of harmony in the second half of the chorus added another colour to the well-known melody and complimented the choir’s strong performance. Their chamber choir entry saw Sam conduct Demons by Imagine Dragons, which was powerfully sung, creating wonderful impact and emotion.
Shapwick, Southfield, Butleigh and The Grange (Choir C) took to the stage next to sing Voulez-Vous conducted by Maddie, accompanied by Jon Boyle. The choir created a marvellous sound, which gave the up-beat song real force and drive. Eloise conducted the choir’s chamber entry of Grenade by Bruno Mars, which had a wonderful nostalgic feel, with gorgeous backing vocals in the sopranos. The performance was moving and very effective.
Changing the tone, St Anne’s, Kernick and Joan’s Kitchen (Choir D) performed Super Trouper, under the conduction of Ella, with Jon Boyle, once again on the piano. The choir opened with a beautiful group solo, creating a wonderfully serene atmosphere which blossomed into an upbeat and hearty chorus. This group then sang Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, under the direction of Erin. This was a stunning performance featuring several fabulous solos and some body percussion, which acted as the heartbeat of the song.
The following choir, comprising of Etonhurst, Overleigh and Great (Choir E), shifted the mood with a striking rendition of Waterloo, conducted by Hamish and accompanied by Cecilia. The choir’s enthusiasm was infectious, and they created a magnificent performance. Esme then directed the Chamber Choir, singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Harburg and Arlen. This stunning performance featured beautiful close harmony, wonderful dynamic range and excellent tuning.
Closing the evening were Mill, Portway and The Lakes (Choir F), performing Take a Chance On Me conducted by Billy and accompanied by Jon Boyle. This fabulous performance was energetic, powerful, and featured some excellent group vocals. Jo then conducted the chamber choir who sang Kiss From A Rose by Seal, giving an impressive, high-paced performance, with fantastic use of harmony, and a terrific solo at the end.
The livestreamed finished with adjudication from Mr Simon Chalk, a highly reputable conductor and violinist. The first award, for Best Conductor, went to Esme, with an honorary mention to Hamish. Mr Chalk said he, “would love to sing” in Hamish’s choir, and that if Esme wasn’t already thinking of including conducting in her future studies, then she should definitely consider it! Next, Mr Chalk announced the Best Chamber Choir. Jo’s choir received an honorary mention for their “unexpected and strong” performance, but Esme’s choir won this category for their “intonation, spacing, sound, diction and presentation.” Mr Chalk was blown away with the incredibly high standard of performances. He particularly noted the Year 9 choir for their enthusiasm and presentation but ultimately, third place jointly went to Choir A and Choir C with 72 points each, second place went to Choir F with 74 points, the winners were Choir E; Etonhurst, Overleigh and Great, who won with 86 points.
Congratulations to everyone and thank you to all the staff who supported this wonderful event. Watch the performances back here.