House Song – Lewisham Triumphant

House Song – Lewisham Triumphant

Wednesday afternoon of Wilberforce Week saw the return of the hotly contested House Song competition. Ably supported by the excellent coaches from Rock Choir, each house spent the day rehearsing their randomly allocated songs before the competition itself after lunch.

Mr Moore launched the show in the Marquee by introducing our judges (Mrs Webster and Mrs Fahey), our technical support team, and the seven Houses. Our running order had been decided randomly before the show, with the Boarders winning the coveted “first performance” slot and delivering a spirited rendition of the iconic Shut Up and Dance. There was plenty of dancing and – unlike what the title might imply – plenty of great singing from the Boarders. Harestone performed second, with Dr Soltysiak adopting a rock musician alter ego to cheer for their interpretation of Sweet Child O’ Mine. A special shoutout must go to Harestone’s Lower Sixth pupils for their air guitar theatrics, which fully embraced the spirit of the competition! Lewisham had the difficult job of following up Coldplay’s emotional performance of Fix You from Glastonbury 2024, but they made the song their own, lighting up the Marquee with their own festival-style lights.

After Lewisham’s performance, we paused for some instant audience (staff and pupil) feedback, and gave the legendary Mr Todd (Head of Lewisham) a huge salutation on the occasion of his final House Song day as Head of House.

Aldercombe sang next, delivering an unstoppable rendition of Sia’s Unstoppable, accompanied by a fittingly emphatic dance. Newington (featuring Newton the Monkey) covered James Bay’s Hold Back The River very evocatively, with an unforgettably high-stakes dance routine at the front of the stage. Ridgefield arranged Cyndi Lauper’s True Colours beautifully, with a stripped-back series of harmonies and dances. Underwood, having landed the important job of closing the show, got everyone singing and dancing along with their performance of George Ezra’s Green Green Grass (a fitting song for a House whose colour is light green).

This left the judges with a challenging question: who would take first, second and third places? (If I had been asked that question, I would have said, “This is more difficult than choosing my favourite Taylor Swift era” and asked if someone else could take the question. I may be the Head of Ridgefield and I may have been cheering for Ridgefield – and I certainly was cheering for my House – but we always prioritise cheering for all Houses and applauding excellent performances. Partisanship can, and must, never influence assessments and judging – an essential ingredient of our Caterham House system.)

Mrs Webster and Mrs Fahey deliberated for several minutes, while Mr Moore interviewed a few Heads of House and pupils, and thanked everyone who had played a part in making House Song 2024 so fantastic. Ultimately, Lewisham won the competition, with Ridgefield in second and Aldercombe in third.

At the start of the morning’s rehearsals, I said to Ridgefield that House Song, more than any other event in the Caterham co-curricular calendar, symbolises the story of my life. As a child, I used to avoid performing in public at all costs, but when I discovered the magic of doing so (despite being a knowingly subpar singer, dancer and actor – see also the Orchard Theatre Festival from last week), I discovered my – pun intended – true colours. My work as a teacher and Head of House is a direct consequence of being inspired by this thing that used to terrify me. I said that House Song would be all about “being fearless” and stepping onto that stage, and having watched and heard all seven performances, I can safely say that everyone achieved those objectives.

I wish you all a very happy and fearless summer.

Mr R. Evans

Teacher of Chemistry, Head of Ridgefield, House Song advocate

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