House Music 2014

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Judge 'star struck' at House Music

24 February 2014

 House Music Photo Gallery

One of the undoubted musical 'highlights' of the year,  the annual House Music competition,  left this year's outside adjudicator, Claire Greenway, 'star struck' and ‘aching from laughing’ on the last afternoon of term. After training at Chethams School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music Claire's career took her into theatre, film and television. She has just finished touring with James and the Giant Peach, playing Ladybird and Aunt Sponge and recently she played Sister Mary Patrick in Sister Act  the Musical at the London Palladium. Claire's film credits include the Austrian Princess in Anna Karenina and movie soundtrack recordings including Pirates of the Caribbean. Claire has also been a backing singer for Elton John!


Each House performed one song from a Disney film and then an ensemble piece from different genres including; pop, country, rock anthems, alternative, R and B and power ballads!


Penshurst kicked off this year’s House Music spectacular in quirky style, covering the stage with clouds, a giant silver moon and star and a flying carpet for their whole house rendition of A Whole New World. The judging panel described the fantastic use of the kooky props as ‘comic genius’ which, together with every performer’s excellent use of the lyrics, ‘painted the words’ for the audience.  After drifting away on their magic carpet ride the audience were brought back to earth with a dynamic performance of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 which was accompanied by what judge Claire Greenway called ‘amazing, theatre grade choreography’. Musically, Penshurst’s exquisite harmonies on both songs and the gorgeous tone of the flutist were also highlighted.


Quebec had a hard act to follow but maintained the afternoon’s comic feel with a ‘very, very funny’ performance of Under the Sea, with more excellent props, including crabs, flippers and an enormous inflatable dolphin. The judging panel particularly enjoyed the performance’s ‘fantastic energy’ and Mr Ledsham’s cameo appearance! Back on dry land the Quebec ensemble gave their absolute all to their ‘fantastic’ R and B mash-up which included ‘MTVtastic’ dancing.


Montreal’s entire performance had been planned with incredible flair and detail with all elements dovetailing seamlessly together, from the beautiful man-sized Chinese dragon which introduced their Disney song from Mulan, through to their ‘Alternative’ genre song choice from Imagine Dragons linking cleverly into the overall ‘dragon’ theme. Montreal again used simple, stylish props to great effect, every member of the house was dressed in black with younger students turning around to reveal brightly coloured trees or flames on their backs when the ‘forest’ and ‘fire’ lyrics dictated. There was a strong sense of cohesion with the house singing as one, this was particularly evident in the performance of It’s Time with a central rhythm set by the dexterous beating of beakers on the  floor of the stage from which tightly coordinated clapping and a building chorus grew. A review of Montreal’s performance would not be complete without mention of Mr Dakin’s expert banging of the gong.


Knole brought a glimmer of calm back to proceedings beginning their performance of Zero to Hero from Hercules gracefully posed like Grecian goddesses in serene white togas. They quickly broke into a fantastic performance of what the judge immediately recognised as a difficult gospel song written for a wide range of voices. Once again, witty choreography came to the fore with the judge declaring herself a big fan of the ‘superman move’! In a flash, togas were replaced with ‘We love Britney’ T shirts for a pop princess medley, again the judge declared herself a huge fan and was especially impressed to see Britney performed with a xylophone!


Down’s performance introduced ‘air grabbing’ power ballad moves to the afternoon in a big way as they sang a brilliantly matched Phil Collins song from Tarzan alongside Aerosmith’s I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing. The judge cited the mantra ‘Go big or go home’ and praised Down for choosing the former and ‘really going for it’! She was particularly spellbound by the passionate rock performances.


Chartwell closed the show with animal prints and air guitars. Furry onesies were the costume du jour for their exuberant performance of The Bear Necessities where it was clear that everyone on stage was having a lot of fun. Judge Claire Greenway had particular praise for the monkeys’ swing routine. Tiger stripes and leopard spots were quickly replaced with black leathers and a great presentation of Living on a Prayer, complete with what the judge described as a ‘scary rock god’ and ‘the world’s coolest guitarist’.


After a noisy afternoon of fantastic friendly competition the final results were:


For Presentation – costumes, props, programmes and choreography


Runner-up: Chartwell


Winner: Montreal


House Song (from Disney film)


Runner-up: Quebec


Winner: Penshurst


Ensemble Song


Runner-up: Quebec


Winner: Montreal


House Cup


3rd place: Quebec


2nd  place: Penshurst


1st place: Montreal