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Michaelmas term has started with a musical bang, after the exhilarating House Vocal competition on Tuesday 13 September.

Just seven days into the new academic year, all 12 houses in the Senior School (pupils in Y9-13) came together for what is widely considered to be the centrepiece of the House calendar. The intensity of the challenge – to choose, arrange, rehearse and perform a song to their peers in just over a week – adds a thrill to the already heightened excitement amongst pupils.

On the day of the competition, each house presented their entry during the morning heats. The six finalists were announced at lunchtime, giving a few extra precious hours to finesse their performance in time for the evening final. This year, for the first time, the event was live streamed for parents to watch.

Adjudicator, musical theatre performer Michael Hamway, applauded the sense of fun, musicality and commitment displayed by pupils, awarding the 2022 trophy to Eastgate for their Florence and the Machine medley. Runners up were Queensgate in second place, with their arrangement of Forget You by Ceelo Green and Westgate’s performance of Shine by Take That, in third.

Arthur Dabrowski, Head of Middle School, enthuses: “House singing is one of my favourite events in the school calendar! From the Y13s who entirely arrange and lead the performance, right down to the new Y9s who are finding their feet, each member of the group palpably benefits from the thrill of performing but also from that sense of belonging within their House.”

Charles Martland, Head of Grindal House, agrees: “House Singing brings out the best of collaboration between year groups at such an important time of year, forming friendships which can last throughout the school. There is nothing more special, in my role, than seeing house pupils proud of their performance, their house and their community.”

Jacob (Y9), who is new to the House System this year, had a great first experience: “I loved taking part in the house singing because how all the other years welcomed me, they were comforting and supportive and not at all judgemental.”

William (Y13) who led Eastgate’s winning ensemble, reflects: One thing that sticks with me is how well I still remember the older students that I met whilst being involved in house singing when I was in year 9 and 10 and this really encouraged me to try and make it informal and personal enough that students can be in conversations with pupils they otherwise would never know.”

He adds: “The task definitely seems insurmountable at first – but once you have started, a really encouraging atmosphere and energy fuels the rehearsals as the piece comes together. One piece of feedback the judge gave us that makes me proud to have led this event – is that our performance felt to him like a “Whole House effort”, which is what I believe truly won it for us.”