14 October 2022

This year’s House Singing Competition was adjudicated by Iain Donald who was Assistant Director of Music at Abingdon in 1987 before going on to be the Director of Music at Bristol Cathedral School and then Hampton School – where Alex Fox, new to the Music Department staff this year, was his Assistant Director of Music.

Abingdon’s houses made some particularly ambitious choices of repertoire this year with Meatloaf’s ‘I would do anything for love (but I won’t do that)’ and, ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ and ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ by ABBA alongside more recent songs including ‘When I Grow Up’ from the musical Matilda and Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars.

Our adjudicator did not pull his punches: his comments were fair, constructive and supportive, but always straight to the point. He was particularly impressed by the bravery of the directors, soloists and instrumentalists who had stepped up to show leadership in the rehearsal process and final performance.

The winning entry this year came from Donnelly’s House with ‘Counting Stars’ by One Republic. The commitment of all the performers, the very high quality of Edward Bennett’s direction, the confident instrumentalists and lively arrangement all contributed to a highly polished performance. It was clear that Edward Bennett had taken real care in the rehearsals and that he had a keen ear for detail

Stockdale’s House came in second with ‘I Want It That Way’ by The Backstreet Boys. A true 90’s classic, this was handled really well under the solid direction of Oliver Smith. The two vocal soloists, Mark Taylor and Joe Watkiss, set the tone at the outset of this enthusiastic, but well-crafted performance.

Third place was given to School House with a rousing performance of ‘Some Nights’ by Fun. The arrangement was particularly well thought through and confidently handled under the fine direction of Oliver Glover. There was some excellent solo singing, part singing and confident accompaniment from the band. All this served to set an extremely high standard for the competition overall.

Congratulations to all 1000 participating singers, tutors, housemasters, conductors and instrumentalists – and thanks also to our excellent adjudicator this year. There was a wonderful atmosphere throughout the afternoon of energy, enjoyment, enthusiasm and healthy competition.

Watch the video here.

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