Winter Showcase 2016

Hello Stranger,

This Fridays special is a small school event I attended at my school. This school year kicked off with the Winter Showcase which is an event that the pupils within the school no matter their talents or skill can sign up too and perform their musical talents. This year was full of classic songs that everyone loves to sing along to, folk, drum and guitar solos that where incredible and amazing guitar and vocals combinations. This buzz of excitement from all the students and teachers made from a lively atmosphere among the audience with everyone talking about everything music.

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After all the introductions, it all kicked off with Archie, Darren and Alex back again with their folk trio. They did Drowsy Maggie which is a really excitable and upbeat folk song that kicked off the whole event with a foot tapping fun attituded. They performed with a really serious attitude but made the whole performance really simple looking. As a previous violinist, I have to take my hat off to Alex who did an incredible job with his playing. His fingers where moving across to each not with swift ease and the bow was constantly all over the place. It was purely fascinating to look at. The whole performance made you smile as they all have so much talent for their age. The highlight of the starting performance is the pause they did towards the end. It was so well performed that it was flawless. Played with a love and passion for music it couldn’t have gone better for them all.

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Next up was Molly Kerr. This was her first performance at the showcase unlike the previous trio. She performed Lego House by Ed Sheeran. For me this stood out as she performed a song that most people know and love to bits. She made it sound so simple and performed it with a real passion for music. One thing I did pick out on is breathing. She needed to relax more and just go with the flow. Other than that, it was the perfect song to start out her career with and I look forward to more performances from her.

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Following on from that it was Chloe Brewer. She has done many of these showcases so was perfectly comfortable with the whole crowd. And my, did it show! She sung Back to Black by Amy Winehouse which was the perfect choice as it’s a song everyone knows of all ages. With her haunting vocals, she took to the stage with ease and filled the stage with the wide range of vocals she has. These vocals were well suited to this tune as you don’t expect the power she has which is what Amy Winehouse was all about. the deep and unexpected power hungry vocals really made for the perfect performance. She definitely stunned the audience and it made me look forward to her next performance coming up later on.

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Now for the first solo instrumental it was Jed Davis and his tremendous drum skills. He played All Summer Long by Kid Rock and he did a tremendous job of it to say the least. He made everyone feet tap along to him playing and people bob their heads too. Jed was definitely in the zone as he was calm and played each note with ease, maturity and a massive portion of concentration. His skill at playing the drums was immense and you could tell he was well practiced. His performance overall with pretty darn good as he has bought back the late 2000’s into many people’s lives.

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The kids that performed next had the performance and vocal skills of someone much older than their age of 12. You don’t expect them to sound like they do when they sing and its incredible. These kids in question where Elisha Paterson and Lucy Griffiths who both performed A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. They each took it in turns to do different verses and came together for the chorus. When they came together their vocals worked so well together in almost perfect harmony and synchronisation. Looking around at the audience while they were performing, it looked like many where on the verge of tears. I have to say that with that type of power between them they will both definitely go far and I look forward to when they both next perform.

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Next up was something completely different that I have never before seen done live let alone by a kid in school. Last time James Wilkins did a beautiful performance on piano but this time he did his own composition on his own DJ set. I could never do anything like this and it was amazing to see how he mixed all these different sounds together. Playing piano for a bit, then tapping the drums on his drum pad and then putting it all together to make a really catchy techno sounding song. The skills that James has are incredible and the fact that he pretty much made it up on the spot made the performance even more exciting. The track he had made you want to grab the nearest person and dance the night away with his catchy sounds. He made it look so simple but sound so complex. It was pure genius and I loved it.

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Back to a long-time performer, Melissa Gould. I have had the pleasure of watching her musical skills growth for a while now as I have seen her perform at countless open mics this past year. So, let me tell you that she has come really far since I first heard her. Melissa performed We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off by Ella Eyre. This is a classic song that she performs on a regular basis that really shows off her vocals in a really simplistic way. She performed with all the skill and class of a full-time musician making the whole crowd feel involved and together. with the right amount of staging and classic vocals she really took the stage. She was none other than pretty darn perfect.

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Chloe Brewer was back on stage next with Max Bramley and Jasmin Bradshaw. They performed together Treat You Better by Shawn Mendes with Max on guitar and Jasmin and Chloe doing the vocals. Max really showed off his guitar playing skills making sure that even though there was no backing track the guitar stood out really well. This power he produced added extra confidence into the girls performing as they harmonised with the guitar on several occasions. They did also take it in turns to show off their individual skill sets which really added to the whole performance as they both oozed with confidence. One thing I would say is that there was a lack of stage presents which sort of let the performance down from some perspectives point of view but other than that small thing, they performed amazingly.

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Now onto the penultimate act of the first half. A long-time performer at the showcase, Danie Cave. She performed Take Me To Church by Hozier with the accompaniment of the piano played by one of the music teachers at my school.  This whole combination of dramatic lyrics and the simple piano really made for perfect staging with dramatic looking lights on them both. This song suites her well as she managed to hit all the notes well with limited adjustments. This alone made the song even more dramatic and power hungry. It was the type of performance that could bring you to tears if you thought about it for too long. One thing would be that she needs to just be herself and not worry about the smaller details of performing. This would make her passion for music shine brighter than it already does.

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The final act of the first half is the current Year 12 Ensemble with a stand in of Kat Tape on vocals. This was something that everyone could get involved in. it is such a classic song that they diffidently did justice individually as well as a group as everyone played their part beautifully. It is such a simple song that you wouldn’t think it works with 6 performers but it did. The piano and drums combination gave the performance volume all at the right moments and the fact that they were played beautifully only added to out all. The bass played by Frasier was played with such power that at the chorus it really lifted it up a notch along with the guitar playing. Now the vocals where another thing. They stole the limelight in a way but this was kore because of the song choice. David was incredible and Kat did a fabulous job of learning the song on the day to help them all out. It was overall a perfect performance.

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After a 20-minute break to set the stage for the next lot of young performers Heather Kerr came on stage with another one of her own songs, Crazy. She was accompanied by the very talented Kieran White on guitar. The song was beautifully performed and written by Heather. She hit every note with passion and a small element of sassiness. Everything they both did was dramatic and full of power as both instruments went for a more deep and sexy vibe. It really worked well for them both and made for an excellent combination between vocals and guitar. The flare that Heather had when she was performing was incredible and is something that I love watching. She just has such a beautiful way with words and the fact that she wrote the song made it all the more appealing to the ears.

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Following on from that dramatic start was the first Christmas song of the evening, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence by Sakamoto performed by Erin Tarrant. This was so beautiful it was as if Sakamoto himself was here playing it in front of my eyes. It was so relaxing to listen to and watch her play so effortlessly. It is such a simple sounding song yet is so complex to play but she played it with so much ease. It was like listening to a never-ending lullaby full of passion and tear worthy playing. You don’t really even realise it’s a Christmas based song which only adds to the special atmosphere that she created with only her fingers and piano keys. It was perfect and couldn’t have been performed better.

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Onto even more Christmas songs next up was a performance by Sadie Williams and Chloe Elford with Its Not Christmas Without You by Victorious. This was a classic sounding Christmas song that was full of festivity and jazziness. It really made you want to get up and dance around the Christmas tree as their vocals worked so well together and on their own too. These guys have performed before together and I have to say this performance was ten times better than last time. It was real foot tapping stuff that contained all of the right high notes and beautiful stage presents. These guys have come along way and I look forward to see where they are heading next.

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Following on from those festive girls its Harry Davies. Now Harry has to be one of my favourite performers as he performed at the last event and blow everyone away with his performance. This time Harry sung Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur and it was perfect. He had the accompaniment of one of the music teachers on guitar which made the whole performance more down to earth. This was the perfect song for his vocal range and really suited his style and vibe that he has gone for. Even every note he sung was spot on making you want to tap your feet even more. He has definitely come a way since last time which makes you smile even more at his incredible performance ability. I’ve said this before and I shall say it again, he is going far.

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Next up it was Kathryn Dobbin who did her own vocal and piano base composition called Take The Reins. I really love her vocals and I have done for a while now as she has her own indie based style which is my type of music. She has such deep and husky vocals that I would say have the ability to cover any song and make it truly amazing. She sung with all the power she could give which made her purely captivating to watch as she played piano and sung her heart out. The fact that she also wrote the song herself add to the speciality of it all as it was almost tear jerking. I can’t wait to hear her sing again because the passion she puts into her songs is unlike anything else.

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Back on the stage came Kat Tape this time performing Believe covered by Ella Henderson on her own. This was another classic song which was performed with such flawlessness and experience it was unreal. She sung perfectly and there is nothing else she could have done to make it better or even more perfect. She sung with energy and perfection using her beautiful vocals to the limits. Her stage presents was also incredible and I was almost crying I have to say. I can’t wait until I see her perform again.

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Love Is A Mystery by Einaudi was performed next by the amazing Megan Dodd which I have to say almost set me off crying. It was literally as if he was here performing it for us as it she played the piano with effortlessness and so much grace. The talent Megan has for her age is unreal and I would honestly pay good money to see her perform that song all over again. She stunned the whole room with her beautiful skills and made everyone stop, relax and think about everything there is to think about. It is honestly not a school showcase unless there is Einaudi and Megan definitely filled that spot well.

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It also isn’t a stereotypical showcase unless there is some Oasis. Sarah Deer performed Don’t Look Back In Anger on guitar as well as doing the vocals. It was like listening to a literal classic being classically played with the vocal and guitar combination. She hit all the high notes and skilfully played the guitar at the same time which is a talent that takes time but she seems to have nailed from a rather young age. Sarah performed with passion and perfect stage presents that really made with nod your head to the beat she was creating. It was simple looking and performed with affection for the song.

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Onto the penultimate song sung by Tom Coller-Jones. He did Free Fallin’ covered by John Mayer. This is a slight acoustic twist on the classic song sung by Tom Petty. This song couldn’t have been sung better I have to say. Hitting all the notes both on his guitar and vocally he really made the stage his own once again. I have seen him perform many times over this past year and it’s good to see him branching out from his typical Bears Den and Mumford & Sons covers to sing something happier. He played like always with passion and an underlying fire for the song even hitting high notes I never knew he could do. It was a fabulous performance to say the least.

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Now onto one of the best final acts I have ever heard in all my time watching, listening and now reviewing these performances. Empirre where back with all the attitude of angry teenagers wanting to get at their parents. They performed R U Mine? by Artic Monkeys and it was incredible. Every single member played with such drama and fire that it made the stage seem way too small for them and their sheer epicness. The fingers of the bass player moved so fast that I couldn’t keep track at all along with the drummer who really threw everything into it all. One thing that did surprise me was the vocals! My goodness can David the lead singer sing with the passion of Alex Turner and in some cases with even more than him. what made the whole performance was the couple of second pause because it all went deathly silent and then it all kicked back into action with the same amount of drama as before. The talent literally exploded out of every instrument and it was the best possible act with the best possible track to finish on!

Charlie

All images taken by Ashlea Forgacs

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