Shrewsbury School

House Singing 2012

Thursday 25 October 2012

Charlie Oakley reviews the House Singing Competition that took place just before the half term break.  Photos by Kate Bronner.

Severn Hill: The Overall Winner

The audition stages, the boot camps, the trips to their mentors’ houses are in the past. Now just two performances remain: the Part Song and the Unison. Who would be crowned winner of Shrewsbury School's House Singing Competition 2012?

There was of course much interest in the contests for best Part Song, best Unison, Most Entertaining and Most Improved.

The Part Song was hotly contested, so much so, Rigg’s ran with ‘Fever’. Picking the top five was not an easy decision. The Dayboys were adventurous in their choices, Port Hill went for ‘Bangarang’ by Skrillex which they managed to make easier on the ear than the original. Cruciverbalists may have seen Radbrook’s entry, an arrangement of Gotye by Rob Homden as ‘thy bygone boredom’ but it was anything but. ‘Somebody I used to Know’ is one of the best selling singles of this year and having a wealth of treble voices gave this composition greater depth and ensured it was a memorable part of the evening. Although their performance did not make the judges’ top five, Radbrook were awarded most improved and Rob was rewarded for his effort with best arrangement.

Fifth place went to Emma Darwin Hall with a combination of Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony, (controversially based on the Rolling Stones song, ‘The Last Time’), Jason Derulo’s ‘Ridin’ Solo’ and a notable display of synchronous thigh slapping. Given there are no medals, fourth was not as bad a place for Severn Hill and their triple combo of Abba, Take That and Coldplay, ‘Does your Mother know how to fix your shine’ was very entertaining with an array of coloured waistcoats and crafty choreographing. Third place went to Moser’s who were rewarded for their simplicity, just one song, Billy Joel’s ‘And so it goes’; close part harmony performed very well.
Just missing out on the top spot was School House with a high tempo tongue twister of ‘They might be Giants’, ‘Istanbul not Constantinople’ and an impressive collection of fezzes. Back from their Hawaiian training camp, Churchill’s produced a well-nigh impeccable rendition of the Beach Boys’ ‘Get Around’ and claimed the Part Song trophy, neatly reversing with Severn Hill last year's Overall/Part Song result.

Churchill's Hall: Part Song Winners

Choosing a Unison song is not easy, it has to be within the range of every member of the house and it requires every member of the house to commit to learning every word, that or mask the ones who haven’t put in the hours on the back row. Ridgemount took the relaxed approach with Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’. Oldham’s reminded me of 15 weeks of my 15th year when Wet Wet Wet were number one with ‘Love is All around’. Clearly not tired after running 150 miles between them in the Tucks, Rigg’s proclaimed that they would walk 500 more. Ingram’s took to the stage with a Guy’s and Dolls medley but not one of these were to make the judges’ top five. ‘Proud’ Mary Sidney Hall put on the sparkling tops for their take on Tina Turner’s classic and claimed fifth spot. School House threw a curveball with the much anticipated ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ turning out to be Ken Dodd’s ‘Happiness’ with a plethora of tickle dusters and the customary goofy teeth; not only did this give them 4th place in the Unison but earned the coveted Entertainment prize. A fitting final song of the night was ‘Hey Jude’ by the Grove but they were not going to have the last say on proceedings. Emma Darwin Hall was awarded the Unison ahead of Severn Hill with their energetic homage to the late Amy Winehouse. ‘Valerie’ had the entire house bopping to an on stage band, ordered so no member could hide and dilute the enthusiasm. The symmetry of two sisters at either end of the front line was the icing on the (Jaafar) cake.

Emma Darwin Hall: Winners of the Unison

Those who have followed the commentary closely will realise that three houses, Emma Darwin, School House and Severn Hill had been placed in both Part Song and Unison with a combined place total of six. Severn Hill, with their reprise of ‘Deep in the Dark’ from the school musical, The Bubble and the part song mentioned earlier were awarded the overall title. Congratulations to Ali Webb and Rob Cross for their hard work.

A great many hours were put in to these performances, not only by the pupils themselves but housemasters, tutors, and the music department. A special mention must be made for Alex Davies and the technical team putting on the light displays and sound checks, John Harvey and the caretaker staff and of course Karen Wilding and Darren Wood for the ticket allocation. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and an excellent way as ever to round off the first half of the Michaelmas Term.


School House: 'Most Entertaining' winners

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