The build-up to this year's Grand Finale, has been rather different this year. For the first time in House Music history, students entered online, using a whole host of innovative techniques to record their performance, and received their feedback from the judges online. The anticipation for the evening, therefore, was especially high—this particular group of talented young musicians, the winners of their categories in the first round were coming together for the first time to perform in person, and coming together for the first school-wide concert in over a year! We were joined for the concert by Samuel Hudson (photo banner, above), an Old Wilsonian and Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral, to judge the performances.
The performers in the Junior Category performed first. 7D's Boadi started the show with a confident and energetic rendition of the highly complex drum part to Toxicity by the band System of a Down. Pavamaan's moving interpretation of a virtuosic piece for classical guitar, Capricho Arabe by Franciso Tarrega, which features delicate harmonics and Spanish rhythmic flourishes. Vignesh then took us to South India with a Carnatic vocal performance. Vignesh delivered intricate improvisatory passages with a calm assuredness that captivated his audience. 8B's Henry rounded off the Junior Category with a real tour de force, the third movement of Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata, which he performed from memory.
Anish then gave a stirring rendition of This is the Moment from the musical Jekyll and Hyde, an apt choice for such a meaningful and important occasion. Ryan's fingers flew across the keys of his oboe for the first movement of Mozart's Concerto in C major on the oboe, and Danny thrilled with an atonal piece for solo trombone from 1975 entitled Parable by Vincent Persichetti. Featuring all sorts of extended playing techniques, from flutter tonguing to glissandi, this piece showcased Danny's impressive technique on the instrument that he started playing in Year 7 and will go on next year to pursue a degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Min treated us to a wonderfully nimble and graceful interpretation of Mozart's Piano Sonata No.14. in C minor, K.457.
We had a return to rock with Zakariya's stylish performance of the Foo Fighter's Rope. We stayed in a similar zone with Eric Clapton's take on the original Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson as played by Ishaan from Year 10, who gave a relaxed performance of the catchy solos on the fretboard of his electric guitar. Our penultimate performer was Lennie, who poise and elegance at the keyboard gave voice to a beautiful rendition of Claude Debussy's Arabesque No.1. Neo closed the show with a real show-stopper: Franz Kriesler's arrangement of Manuel de Falla's Danse Espagnole! As the opening phrases took shape, Neo closed his eyes and took the audience with him on a technical whirlwind of ricochet bowing, pizzicati, and double-stopping, while maintaining a warm and generous tone on his instrument.
Mr Hudson admitted that he had to wipe the sweat from his brow as he made his final decision.
1st Pavamaan 8S
2nd Vignesh 7S
1st Danny 13B
2nd Neo 13C
3rd Zakariya 13H
Highly Commended Min 11G
He praised all of the performers for their calmness and self-assuredness, and reminded them all of the critical need to communicate what they feel is the meaning of the music to their audience, to make the audience feel what they are feeling through their instruments and voices. Thanks were given to all those who entered the competition and all those who overcame many obstacles this year to make the competition happen.