Event Review: Max Reports on House Music 2017
It is safe to say that, despite the vast array of House Competitions scattered throughout the year, House Music has always been a highlight for me.
Perhaps I'm biased. It is undeniable to say that Deis have always had a certain knack with this competition. It is, after all, almost impossible to enter the House without seeing our glorious notice board declaring our six year victory in this contest.
It will, however, forever go unspoken that it is every Head of Deis' dream to return back to the boys in yellow, brandishing the House Music Trophy.
No pressure then?
As ever, and in broad terms, the contest was fierce. Four epic renditions of the American Authors' "Best Day of My Life" proved the immense vivacity and enthusiasm of the evening. Whether it was Dorisbury's classy harmonies, or Dorikite's multicoloured big song, all Houses had something unique and personal about their performance.
Soloists stood out in Stickways and Demberston's big song, with the ever-impressive Adelaide Barden and, new to Bede's this year, the wide-eyed Leo Wynne Williams.
Every singer in Big Song, from the Small Choir to the House staff, were truly exemplifying what it meant to be a part of a house community.
The atmosphere in all the Big Songs was truly energising, and every student's effort was unequivocally infectious. It was certainly quite an experience to both be on stage and a member of the audience!
Stickways' Small Song was the first of its kind to grace the evening. One might expect nerves, but they certainly did not show.
A 70s classic, later readapted for the stage in Mamma Mia, "Chiquitita" did not disappoint. Opened by the supreme style and sophistication of Tilly Holker, this number glided between elegant fluidity and jolly character, under the masterful conduction of Mrs Lambeth.
Put simply: can you ever go wrong a bit of Abba?
For their Solo, we were lucky to witness Will Hopkins' "Cry Me a River." A jazz performance icon, and now a Bede's Bublé, Will's power and skill won him the top spot for his House.
Stickways band also excelled with their song "What You Know." The expressive and skilful performance of the two bass guitarists, Tom Harrison and Tom Addams, did not go unnoticed; neither did the exceptional performances of the soloists. Stickways, overall, was definitely a force to be reckoned with!
Dorisbury were up next, and their Small Choir gave a tour-de-force performance of the classic Mumford and Sons song, "I Will Wait" organised and orchestrated by the incredible Rosa Witts.
The arrangement simply took my breath away; the harmonies reflected the soft and mellow intentions behind the music and the soloists, Ben Barden, Rosa Marks, and of course, Rosa Witts, truly put the icing on the cake.
For their Solo, Dorms' Jan Apolin took to the stage to perform a song from the 2016 film, La La Land. Not only was the performance deeply heartfelt and emotive, but the details of Ryan Gosling's character that Yann embodied were truly special. What a performer and what a performance!
Dorisbury's House Band performance was also executed with extreme professionalism. Their jazzy mashup of two very iconic songs, Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby" just had to get your foot tapping! Special commendation must go to Evan Nayler's expert piano solo, Tim Scott-Rudd's vibrant sax and the four stand-out soloists.
Moving swiftly on to Demberston: our Small Song (which, if I am to be honest, I was very lucky to be a member of myself) was a poetic and sensual arrangement of Bill Wither's 1972 song, "Lean on Me." Drawing upon the expertees of Rachel Morgan and Lily Potter, the song drifted elegantly into first place for our House. Soloists included the talented Natalie Grimston, the suave Ksenia Reimchen and our own Head of Deis, Sam Avery.
Next came Khaya Burke's Solo Performance, which was, and there are simply no other words for it, spectacular. There are few people on this earth that could pull off Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" but Khaya is certainly one of them. Her power and style was effervescent, and we were left shocked, amazed and covered in goosebumps after her song. Another win definitely well deserved!
Demberston also put forward another strong entry in the House Band category, with the group presenting a toe-tapping extravaganza of Micheal Jacksons' "PYT", supported by the brilliant Small Choir. Lead by the superb Charlie Muston on the trumpet, the charismatic Matt Grant's guitar and, Head of Deis, Sam Avery's drums.
If I digress slightly, I would like to sincerely thank Sam from all of us in Deis for truly leading us with strength and agility in this competition. His organisation and optimism never faltered, and I know, despite the result, we are all so grateful for the work he put in.
Finally, but by no means least, came Dorikite. The song "Stand by Me" was originally performed by the American blues singer Ben E. King, and this House simply gave it a new lease of life. Remarkable solos came from Amber Gott and Emily Addams, who both electrified and enthused the performance with the gusto it needed.
The House Soloist, Marie Boyer, was exceptional. It is fair to say the Bede's harp community is limited, but Marie gave a show stopping performance of an improvised Jazz/Blues harp piece. Her playing was both elegant and refreshing, and struck a different tone from the raucous energy of the evening. The judges certainly had their work cut out!
For their House Band performance we had a rather hilarious rendition of Tina Turner's "Proud Mary."
For all intents and purposes, this song was bursting with zest and celebration. Individual performances were plenty, but I am compelled to mention Luke Noble and Emily Addams who, along with the gifted Legat Dancers, created an unprecedented party atmosphere during their concert.
In spite of the depth of talent on show, as with all of these things there must be a winner, and while Demberston and Dorikite came in fourth and third places respectively their contributions and skill cannot be overstated.
Runner up this year was Stickways, and the winner of House Music 2017 was Dorisbury - congratulations to them!
Special thanks must go to Mr Hopkins, Miss Morris, Mr Scamardella and the peripatetic music staff, as well as all the Housemasters and Housemistresses involved. Without their effort and motivation, competitions like this wouldn't happen.
Indeed, under Mr Driver's watchful gaze, we did it again for Deis in the end. Seven years in a row.
I find the trophy sits quite well in our House Office.
Not that I'm biased or anything...
Roll on House Music 2018!