This year’s Cabaret event was three nights of enthralling entertainment dedicated to the iconic music of the 1980s. The Senior School performers, all showing remarkable talent, transported the audience back to the days of big hair, bright colours, and unforgettable tunes.
The event, which saw performances of 24 songs, was a testament to both the timeless appeal of 80’s music and the astonishing skills of many of our young musicians. Lead by host and Year 13 pupil, Arlo N, who did a spectacular job of channelling his inner 80s presenter, reminiscent of a young Gary Davies, ensured the audience was well informed and the mood appropriately upbeat, akin to a party of the time.
The concert began with an electrifying and rousing performance of Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger by the College’s Big Band, setting the tone for an evening filled with powerful music and infectious energy.
Throughout the evening, the young musicians tackled a diverse range of 80’s classics, from the Year 12 BTEC Band’s rendition of Luther Vandross’s smooth Never Too Much, the enchanting sound of Ella O’s rendition of legend Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time and a second Lauper classic, True Colours, sensationally sung by Basti P and accompanied by Finn P.
The Ukulele Band treated the audience to a triple bill of Tainted Love (joined by Arlo whose stage presence certainly did Marc Almond justice), Duran Duran’s Hungry Like the Wolf and Kirsty McColl’s They Don’t Know. The band’s versatility was truly impressive, seamlessly transitioning between genres and capturing the unique styles that defined the decade.
A highlight of the night was a stirring rendition of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics, led by the charismatic Year 9 duo Isla S and Harriet B. This synth-based theme of the 80s was highlighted again though Charlie H’s, George A’s and Harry G’s performance of Harold Faltermeyer’s classic Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, Axel F.
The Year 10 Band had the audience firmly dancing in their chairs with Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody, shortly after which Archie Ln and his band mates brought the 80s rock vibe well and truly to the stage with Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi and Prince’s Purple Rain.
The tempo was taken right down with a beautiful duet of Angel of the Morning from Emily B and Lucía S-L after which Charlie H demonstrated his vocal talents with his version of Just the Two of Us.
After a rousing set by DJ Sav M, entertaining the audience in the interval, the Year 13 BTEC Band brought The Cure to the stage with Love Cats (and again later with another Cure song, Just Like Heaven) before an energy transition shifted the mood to the more mellow and softer side of the 80s.
Tilda H’s exquisite rendition of Tracey Chapman’s Baby Can I Hold You left the audience moved and in exactly the right mood for a musical version of Careless Whisper by the exceptionally talented Finlay B and Sebby A-E.
Lyla E wowed with her soaring voice and commanding stage presence during her version of Brenda Russell’s Get Here, after which Katherine W stunned the room with her extraordinary vocal range, which gave Whitney’s Saving All My Love the performance it deserves.
And just like that we were to the top five. After another showcase of phenomenal string skills from Archie L and Sebby A-E with the Guns and Roses classic Sweet Child of Mine, James T gave the audience a bit of Madness magic with It Must Be Love.
Finlay B demonstrated why he will be studying at Royal Academy of Music next year, with a superb cover of Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed.
And then we were down to the final song, from the soundtrack of hit TV show, Fame, the performers from across the evening joined together to provide a moving rendition of Starmaker, during which their passion and enthusiasm were infectious, inspiring members of the audience to sing, clap and dance along in force.
Throughout the entire evening, every single pupil displayed exceptional musicianship and professionalism which made the event an unforgettable experience. The night of live music was a celebration of the enduring power of 80’s music and a tribute to the incredible potential of our musicians. Kudos to the music department and technical team for a magical evening that left the audience both nostalgic and awestruck.