Montreal win House Music 2015

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Montreal lift House Music Cup



14 February 2015

Half term ended on a crescendo with one of the noisiest afternoons of the school year, the annual House Music Competition which ended in triumph for Montreal who scooped the House Music Cup for the 2nd year running.

Independent adjudicator Tom Williams, singer songwriter and member of the band Tom Williams and the Boat, had the unenviable task of judging 12 highly original and roof raising musical performances. Each House presented a whole house performance featuring every house member and an ensemble piece. The soundtrack to the afternoon was inspired by movie sound tracks and leading current pop acts. The categories made for a brilliantly eclectic musical afternoon.

Tom Williams was abundant in his praise for the universally high quality of the performances and levels of enthusiasm and provided thoughtful and incisive feedback to each House.

Chartwell kicked off their performance with a beautiful and melacholy arrangement of songs from the recent Great Gatsby movie. Tom Williams praised the house for their group harmony and haunting piano, violin and vocal introduction. Chartwell quickly shed their 1920's feather boas and morphed into 'players' 'fakers', 'haters' and 'heart breakers' for their House song Taylor Swift's Shake It Off, a high energy performance, with lots of movement, call and response, a rap and a winning reference to the adjudicator's splendid beard! This polished performance went on to win Best House Song.

Down took Abba's ubiquitous 'Money. money, money' and 'made it their own', with an opening that Tom Williams praised as a 'fantastic, acoustic instrumentation' from piano, saxophone and double bass, especially as all musicians were playing in sunglasses! Knole's performance featured great unison singing, clapping, stamping, cymbals and note worthy 'shoulder shimmies'! Down shifted their tempo completely for their ensemble piece, bringing a moment of stillness to the stage as they regrouped around solo acoustic guitarist Morgan Weiland to deliver a tender arrangement of Ultraviolet. Tom Williams gave special mention to soloist Michela Cullum and praised the group's beautiful harmonies and powerful group singing. Tom cited Ultraviolet as his musical highlight of the afternoon and it went on to win Best House Ensemble.

Knole were without doubt the brightest house of the afternoon with every member decked out in brilliant yellow for their performance of Walking on Sunshine. Tom Williams praised the twist that Knole gave the song, swapping the familiar high octane start to the song for a sultry, saxophone led introduction reminiscent of lounging around on a hot sticky afternnoon. The introduction soon gave way to a performance with great energy, special mentions went to the younger house members who gave their all even though they were dressed from head to toe as sunflowers and sunbeams. Knole's energy continued on into their ensemble performance of Michael Jackson's I want you back. Tom Williams praised the acapella arrangement of the song and noted that combining acapella in a high energy performance to such a high standard was hard to do.

As reigning House Music champions Montreal came to the competition with the highest standards to uphold, they didn't disappoint. Montreal's House song performance of Madonna's 4 Minutes featured a strong dramatic element splitting the stage to create a 'boys v girls' style 'dance-off' which Tom Williams admired for its atmosphere, characterisation and 'an abundance of sass!' The tumblers and breakdancers were of particular note and Tom especially loved liked the male characters, although he noted sadly that boys can't dance that well in real life! The 'fantastic interaction', drama and innovation of Montreal's House Song continued into their ensemble, a compilation of songs from the movie Pitch Perfect. The group made a powerful formation on stage to deliver an acapella performance praised for its 'great intonation and preservation of momentum through transitions.' Special mention to rapper Claudia Cousins. The contrasting songs made Montreal worthy winners of the 2015 House Music Cup.

 

Penshurst brought a singing ogre, princess and donkey to the stage with a Shrek mash-up for their first song. Tom Williams was impressed with the medley's great unison singing, especially the clear annunciation and volume. Special mention went to pianist Alice Hugill for her persuasive and authoritative playing. Alice received a second mention for her arrangement of Penshurst's ensemble piece Halo. Tom Williams had particular praise for the beautiful flute introduction, drumming and choruses accentuated by two-part singing.


Quebec opened the show with a high octane version of Jump from the movie soundtrack to Love Actually. Tom Williams described it as an 'amazing' start to the afternoon; he particularly loved how the song was broken down with a fantastic interaction between two sides giving 'call' and 'response'. The exciting choreography, including plenty of back flips, cartwheels and sweets thrown into the crowd made for a thrilling performance. A special mention went to House Captain Scarlett Worrow for her stand-out leadership and performance which set the energy bar so high. A sweet and gentle introduction from four singers to Quebec's house ensemble piece, a Robbie Williams mash-up, foxed the audience for a minute until the wider group jumped in with another energetic performance notable again for unison singing with great intonation and drumming backing. 

The final prizes were awarded as follows:


Best Presented House Winner Montreal
  Runner Up Penshurst
Best House Song Winner Chartwell for 'Shake It Off'
  Runner Up Quebec for 'Jump'
Best House Ensemble Winner Down for 'Ultraviolet'
  Runner Up Knole for 'I want you back'
House Performing Arts Cup 1st Place Montreal
  2nd Place Down
  3rd Place Chartwell

 

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