Event Review: Cabaret 2016

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The singular Rosa Witts.

 

The first weekend in December saw the Multi-Purpose Hall at Bede’s transformed into a forest of festive delights.

As audience members peered between towering white birch boughs, flanked by Christmas trees festooned with traditional decorations, they might have believed themselves transported, by Yuletide magic, to a mysterious boreal woodland or, perhaps, the outskirts of Santa’s grotto.

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The effect was compounded, like powder underfoot, during the concert’s climactic moments when snow began to fall from the rafters!

This playful pageantry was all in support of Bede’s annual blue-chip event, Cabaret, which was this year themed ‘Winter Wonderland.’

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The performance followed a tried and tested format, with a three-course dinner split over three orchestra-supported concerts.

Young musicians from all year groups sang, played and made merry across the two performances, ably assisted this year by not only Bede’s Legat dancers but budding thespians from the Drama department too.

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Comperes Toby Wallace, Grace Stannard and Louis Muston.

After a starter of game terrine served with a winter salad, Concert One began with a triple-whammy; every performer joined forces for an all-singing, all-dancing rendition of Step Into Christmas before the Bede’s Orchestra played Sleigh Ride with appropriate enthusiasm!

Upper Sixth piano virtuoso Emile Epianoff then tinkled the ivories through The Snow is Dancing, accompanied by fine dancing from Joana Rosell-Pineda, Katie Taplin and Cydney Watson.

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After this opening barrage and a monologue from Firdest Karaca, Ruby Moody gave a stunning performance of Winter on cello, arranged by her father, which was followed neatly by Matilda Holker singing Sarah McLachlan’s In The Arms of An Angel.

Rounding off the first recital, the Orchestra then chugged merrily though Alan Silvestri’s Polar Express before the Legat Dancers gave a resoundingly successful performance of Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!

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The orchestra building up a head of steam with Polar Express.

With the crowd now jostling in their seats and bopping along to the music, the main course was served. As they tucked into beef, slow-braised in Harvey’s Christmas beer, roasted root vegetable panache and champ mash, frantic costume changes took place backstage as the musicians made ready for Concert Two.

Opening with a joyful performance of Warm This Winter by the Jazz Choir, accompanied by the Legat Dancers, the second part of the evening saw the Lower Sixth BTEC Singers giving their peppy rendition of Yazoo’s Only You before Echo Abraham performed Viola’s soliloquy from Twelfth Night.

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The Lower Sixth BTEC Singers.

This led into a quick and breath-taking succession of high quality performances including Martinu’s Trio For Flute, Cello and Piano care of Mr Scamardella, the delightful Ksenia Reimchen and the ever-outstanding Daisy Noton, a moving delivery of I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm from Rosa Witts, and a crowd-pleasing version of Jingle Bells from the Jazz Band.

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A crooning Will Hopkins, outnumbered but not outgunned...

With smiles forming at the edges of their mouths, the audience then watched First Year Will Hopkins imploring Imogen Lock, Lily Potter and Rosa Witts to stay with him a little longer in Baby, it’s Cold Outside before the Cabaret Singers drove home the jollity with their performance of Jingle Bell Rock.

In a startling change of pace, First Year pupil Lola Britten-Hepper then took to the stage and gave a hauntingly powerful performance of Gabrielle Aplin’s The Power of Love while dancer Amber Gott wheeled and contorted with apposite anguish in front of the stage.

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Lola Britten-Hepper bringing the house down.

After this spine-tingling performance, Lily Potter took to the microphone and sang a charming, pitch-perfect version of My House from Tim Minchin’s musical Matilda before Head of School Talisker Cornford shimmied into the limelight for a decidedly cheeky performance of Santa Baby, humorously reinforced by a very brassy Jazz Band.

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Lily Potter, whose future in musical theatre seems assured...

Just as the Jazz Choir completed the second concert with an appropriately cheerful rendition of Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song, dessert was served. The audience chatted and grinned through their mulled wine crème brûlée and vanilla shortbread, eagerly anticipating the final run of acts.

They did not have to wait long.

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Head of School Talisker making the most of her final Cabaret concert.

Concert Three began with the Upper Sixth BTEC Band and Legat Dancers channelling Florence and The Machine and Mumford and Sons simultaneously with their performance of Winter Sound by Of Monsters and Men.

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The Upper Sixth BTEC Band making a Winter Sound.

This led neatly into the Cabaret Singers’ charming version of perennial earworm All I Want For Christmas before Emily Adams gave it some welly, assisted by the Jazz Band, for a vibrato-rich performance of Let it Snow!

With audience toes tapping, and the dancefloor beckoning, Sherene Chan, Naemi Marques Sindlinger and Amelia Mitchell took up positions and sang Candy Cane Lane with true gusto, leaving no illusions in anyone’s mind that Christmas was just around the corner – and then it was time for a boogie!

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Naemi, Amelia and Sherene.

With mums, dads, teachers, fellow pupils and guests all encouraged to get to their feet, the Jazz Band then performed a double bill of Here Comes Santa Claus and Winter Wonderland before one final show stopping number – the Cabaret Singers belting out Stevie Wonder’s That’s What Christmas Means To Me while season-appropriate precipitation showered one and all.

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A night to remember, of that there is no doubt, and it would be hard to imagine a better way for Bede’s and its many talented children to have kick-started the lead-up to Christmas.

Due credit must of course go to Bede’s Director of Music Louise Morris, her Deputy, Mr Scamardella, and Music department stalwart Roy Hilton, whose collaboration with the Bede’s Marketing and Events Team and school caterers Holroyd Howe fostered more than a little magic in the Sports Complex.

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Moreover, the hard work of Director of Dance, Lee Smikle, and Director of Drama, Karen Lewis, enabled Bede’s pupils to showcase their many and varied talents with an extraordinary level of energy and enthusiasm.

And snow in the Sports Hall? Who would’ve thought it…

 

A complete selection of photographs from Cabaret 2016 will be made available to parents via a download link sent out by email.

 

Learn more about Cabaret at Bede's >

Learn more about the Bede's Music department >

 

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Cello virtuoso Ruby Moody.

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Tilly Holker channeling Sarah McLachlan.

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The Legat dancers.

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Ms Morris and the Orchestra playing Jingle Bell Rock.

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Amber Gott dancing to Lola Britten-Hepper's haunting performance.

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Emily Adams and the Orchestra give it some welly...

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 The whole gang takes to the stage.