House Music Competition 2021

House Music premiered online on Wednesday, 3 February. Students from Whitgift’s eight Houses rehearsed and recorded their solos and ensembles which were edited into a one-hour showcase by the AV Department. Experienced musician Jeremy Summerly, former Head of Academic Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, was invited by Mr Elsom to adjudicate this year’s very different competition. Mr Summerly acknowledged the work, time and skill that goes into producing these videos, especially ensembles, and thanked all those involved for allowing him to be entertained by these performances.

The evening was as much a celebration of students' musical achievements as it was a competition. From fantastic pairings of baroque and soul and impressionist miniature with pop ballad, to a contemporary cover of a 1950s classic, and an original composition.

“It was a real pleasure to co-ordinate the House Music Competition this year, particularly given the difficult circumstance in which we find ourselves” said Mr Elsom, Director of Music. “I was thrilled with the quality of the performances, and all who participated should be very proud of what they have achieved. Mr Summerly is an excellent musician, and for our students to receive such high praise from him is significant” he added.

Unable to separate them on scores, Mr Summerly, awarded second place to two Houses: Smith’s and Tate’s.

Commenting on Smith’s cover of Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing, Mr Summerly announced “What you will have learned from putting this song together is much more than just covering a 1970s R&B number”. Meanwhile Tate’s Hector was praised for his acting of Handel’s gestures to fully engage the listener, as well as his fabulous tenor voice.

First place this year went to Cross’s. Their submission included Marlon’s ‘technical tour de force’ with effortless left hand positioning and sensitive bowing together with the large ensemble's version of Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime. They were commended on the professionalism of the composition, for bringing a delightful 'folky halo' to their version  - full of life and drive  - which was really compelling.

“I forgot I was witnessing a school competition and I just let you entertain me”, concluded Mr Summerly.

Well done to everyone involved for another wonderful evening of musical entertainment.

If you missed the live premiere, the recording will be temporarily available here: House Music - Whitgift School