MUSIC: Singing competition lights up whole school community

Around 1,000 students and staff filled the sports hall this week for the inaugural RGS House Singing Competition. Third formers ISABEL ROBINSON and ELANOR JONES report on this outstanding event, which lit up the whole school community

THIS week saw the launch of the first RGS House Singing Competition in the school sports hall. The event, organised by director of music Mr Seymour, ran all afternoon, and was judged by Miss Lancaster and Mr Seymour from Sedburgh School (brother of RGS’s Mr Seymour). The rival teams were equipped with coloured banners or cards with their House names, and the atmosphere was buzzing. The songs were chosen by the heads of the Houses, with some guidance from RGS's Mr Seymour.

De Grey were the first to perform, with Viva la Vida by Coldplay. According to the judges, it had 'a great start, really setting the tone, with fantastic engagement'. They sang with visible passion, and the judges agreed it sounded 'very, very strong'. The accuracy was very good, and their unison was also good, they said.

Hutton were second to perform, singing Shine by Take That. It sounded very powerful and loud, and the judges commented that there was 'real joy… you could tell they really loved the song'. The accuracy was also good, and the judges said it 'worked really well'. The unison was good throughout, and they even split into separate groups for the echoing lyrics, they said.

Porteus were third to perform, with Livin' on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. Not to be outdone by the others, Porteus was 'really awesome as a house' and 'great in certain respects… one of the best sounds'. They had a really powerful collective voice, especially in the chorus, and you could really feel the strength of the singers, said the judges.

Last, but certainly not least, School performed Pompeii by Bastille. According to the judges, School 'organised their voices very well', and Mr Seymour even congratulated some of the singers, saying they showed that 'it’s okay to be macho and to sing'. They really wanted to give the best performance they could and the unison between singers was very good, said the judges.

However, this wasn’t the only part of the competition. There were also 'part performances', where a small group of students would sing another song on behalf of their house. All the songs were outstanding, often with intricate harmonies, and even going a cappella on occasion. These got compliments such as 'absolutely divine', 'beaming with joy', and even 'like ear honey, it sounded so lovely'. In the end, Porteus won the part performance section.

However, the winner of the group performances was not so clear, so there was a final round between Hutton and Porteus. Both Houses sang beautifully and competitively for first prize, but in the end, Hutton narrowly missed out and Porteus won the competition. Despite this, all the Houses sang superbly and the competition was a massive success.

Mr Seymour has said that he has wanted to do a House singing competition for a very long time, and the reason we had one this year is because he had previously discussed it with Mr Webb, who also thought it would be an excellent idea.

After being asked if he thought that school should do a similar competition again, Mr Seymour, who is in his last year at RGS, stated, “I really, really, REALLY hope that this continues. Writing after the event I can see the positive impact it has had not only on House spirit but the whole school community. There was such a feeling of fulfilment as people left the sports hall. Wonderful! This was my first and last RGS House singing competition and I'm sure it will go from strength to strength!”

From the enthusiasm shown at the competition, it’s clear that the school greatly appreciates everything Mr Seymour has done in organising this event, but special thanks also go to the heads of the Houses for picking songs and leading the singing, and also to Mrs Keelan-Edwards and Mr Auger who helped out with the challenge of fitting about 900 students into the sports hall.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable house competition that both students and staff got involved in, and it would seem to be a great competition that we can do again in the future.

Pictured, top: Headmaster Jonathan Webb and head of Porteus House Libby Rickard with judges Mr Seymour and Miss Lancaster