Wilberforce triumph in rousing House Music Festival

Girl playing flute and boy playing guitar as part of an instrumental performance at House Music

This year’s eagerly-anticipated House Music Festival delighted audiences with a varied repertoire performed with gusto and expertise by our extremely talented pupils.

The festival, which is Sixth Form-led, gives pupils the chance to select, direct and perform their own music, to entertain their audience over two nights and experience for themselves how hard work really does get results.

Each house was tasked with providing an instrumental item, a choral, a bonus item and a finale. The instrumental pieces were an opportunity for each house to demonstrate the diverse talents of its pupils.

Wilberforce pupils perform a choral item on the school stage during House MusicWilberforce opted for a traditional Hungarian ‘Fast Dance’ string piece with piano, which was adeptly delivered. Dolman, Gruggen and Hutton each opted for a guitars and drums performance: Dolman gave us a rendition of “New Born” by Muse and Gruggen played “R U Mine?” by The Arctic Monkeys. It was Hutton’s rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” which really brought the house down, with fantastic showmanship from the Smith brothers, including Michael playing the guitar behind his head!

Dolman pupils perform their finale item at House MusicThe choral item is arguably the most difficult piece to rehearse and perform at House Music. Despite that, every house opted to perform a second choral item for their bonus piece. A wide-ranging repertoire, from sacred music to pop songs, was showcased; many of the students arranging the music themselves to suit their respective groups.

Dolman took us back to the 1960s with The Turtles’ song “Happy Together” before delighting the audience with some modern sacred music: “Set me as a Seal” by Bruce Tippette. Gruggen opted for a song from the recent musical, The Greatest Showman coupled with “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” originally recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Fifth Year Joe Cheney led with an unaccompanied, yet powerful solo.

Hutton gave us Toto’s “Africa,” accompanied appropriately by guitar and an African drum, followed by “Sing”, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Gary Barlow. Wilberforce took us back to the Sixties again with The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” recast in the movie, Shrek, followed by another item from a well-known musical, “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables.

Pupils performing the finale piece on stage during House MusicFor the finale, the houses pulled out the stops to deliver spectacular performances, colourful costumes with lots of energy accompanied by student bands with amazing choreography. “Shut up and Dance” by Walk to the Moon performed by Dolman; “Footloose” by Gruggen; Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Hutton, and from Wilberforce “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John. The audience were swept along by the fun of seeing the stage packed with students singing, dancing, delivering confident performances – and enjoying themselves, too!

Wilberforce retained the House Music trophy and best individual item went to Hutton for their performance of “Johnny B. Goode.” Wilberforce have won for the past few years… can any houses knock Wilberforce off their perch next time? An impressive 237 pupils participated in the festival this year, and it was ably judged by visiting music teachers Ian Seddon and Dave Hughes.

Mention must be made of the Art Department’s annual contribution of a music video, which this year was Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” featuring a brilliantly swaggering cast. It also inspired an impromptu singalong by the audience, rounding off a rousing night which summed up Pocklington School’s unique spirit of collaboration and positivity.

Sam Austin, Director of Music

To view photoagraphs from the event, please click here.

To view a video of House Music 2020, please click here (courtesy of Kai Swanborough, Pocklington School).

To view the Art Department's music video, please click here.