On Sunday 4th February, Powell Hall could be mistaken for any up and coming jazz club in the big smoke. The ever popular Jazz and Swing concert attracted a sell-out audience, who were seated at round tables and enjoyed wine and cheese as pupils performed a terrific and wide-ranging programme of modern and traditional songs.

Against a glittering background, our talented pupils performed tracks from Duffy to Desmond, Howard to Hamilton, Williams to Weill. For the Upper Sixth pupils it was their final chance to perform at a jazz and swing evening, and they certainly went out with a bang – their vocals and musical ability outshining even the most professional of entertainers.

Shaun Cassini (Y13, S), star of Sedbergh School’s Fiddler on the Roof production kicked us off with his smooth and personality packed rendition of ‘Rock DJ’ by Robbie Williams, it certainly started the party. There were numerous solo and small-group items, including a highly emotive version of ‘Stormy Weather’ by Lil Sladden (Y12, L).

Strong solo performances from Sam Cope (Y13, P), Charlie Papworth (Y13, E), Hugh Hollins (Y12, SH) and Jack Roper (Y12, H) were accompanied by our jazz and swing bands as well as solo percussionists who engaged the audience as they moved through the crowds. 

Meanwhile, Sophie Marshall (Y13, L) demonstrated her fantastic versatility by singing a sultry cover of ‘I’m Scared’ by Duffy. Many of our ensembles were involved, including four choirs. The Girls’ Choir sang an uplifting and technically perfect rendition of ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’, which was in complete contrast to the Chamber Choir’s ‘They can’t take that away from me’.

Our brass, woodwind and string ensembles all featured too, as did both of our soul bands who got the crowd tapping their feet to ‘I say a little prayer’. Ottilie Whitwell (Y13, R), Pollyanna Bell (Y13, R), Rosie Clifford (Y11, R) and Lucy Preston (Y13, R) all joined the bands as vocalists, and were rightly met with great acclaim.

Geraud de Carmantrand (Y12, H) stole the show with his solo performance of his own song ‘Souvenir’, which he wrote and composed. Frenchman Geraud’s husky tone was perfect for the pace and lyrics of the song, captivating the audience who showed their appreciation with a standing ovation and applause which filled the room.

Amy Lewin (Y13, L), star of the 1st VII Girls’ Netball team, belted out her version of ‘Emily’ by Dave Koz, a love song which Amy sung with sincerity.  At the heart of it all, though, were the Swing Band led by Mrs Susan Doherty. They opened both halves of the concert and brought it to a close in sensational style with the well-known ‘Absoludicrous’ by Goodwin. 

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