As I drive home there is a faint ring in my ears and I have to keep checking my right foot is being too heavy on the pedal due to my increased adrenaline. Whilst I would say this isn't a totally comfortable state I would liken it to the feeling you have after having a good meal when your stomach is just a little too full. But it’s a feeling you don’t mind because it’s the result of something good, something enjoyable and something you would happily experience all over again. But the feast I’m talking about wasn’t for my stomach but for my ears, because I’m driving home from another St David’s College Band Night.
First up was the miniscule Lucy and Bella with their honest, stripped back, sweet version of Grace Vanerwaal’s ‘I Don’t Know My Name’. Even with just their voices and a Ukele it was an education in how to hold a room of people. ‘One Last Time’ by Ariana Grande was beautifully interpreted into an ensemble piece by the Year 5&6 girls.
Carrying on the all-female opening salvo of talent, Milly and Hermione shone from the back corner of the stage. Their piano and vocal version of ‘Fight Song’ was both fragile and powerful all at the same time.
There are not many singers in the world who can carry off a performance when the tech team play the wrong backing track. That is exactly what Henry did, singing the lyrics of George Ezra’s hit ‘Shotgun’ to the tune of another song entirely and making it all seem natural and planned – at first the author thought this mashup was well crafted and thought out not realising it was a technical error! There have been many versions of Jeff Buckley’s ‘Hallelujah’ over the years but Olivia, Lizzie and Neve made it sound fresh again and a joy to hear. Next up was the teachers band, please note the author is the guitarist, and while I could serve to boost my own ego I’ll just say this; the right notes were played in the right places to the correct beat and lyrics, success.
Jade and Ruby were handed the stage for two songs, the duo have become a welcome staple of any St David’s music event. They expertly served up ‘Eyes Shut’ by British Pop darlings Years and Years and while it’s not easy to re-interpret Keaton Henson’s fragile and delicate style with ‘Small Hands’ the capable duo managed it magically.
The Year 11 girls, including Aaron, gave us four songs diverse in their musical genre. The rapid genre gear shifting wasn’t the only dizzying spectacle as each song was accompanied by a shifting of instruments between group’s multi-talented members.
It was down to Year 10 to follow their Year 11 elders, which was no small task. The first few notes of the iconic Slash riff rang out over the audience who instantly recognised the anthem that is ‘Sweet Child of Mine’. Taking on a Guns and Roses song is only for the brave, finger twisting riffs, strong thumping drum rhythms and vocals that have to carry a song that is almost operatic in length. But brave they were and triumphant too and the Year 10 band carried this confidence into the next anthem that was ‘Under the Bridge’ by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
The senior pupils were next to take the helm and the 6th From band served up four classic ballads with style and poise. From Elvis’ ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ to Ben E. King’s ‘Stand by Me’ the group brought these classic hits back to life effortlessly. It was also great to see a Trombone on stage which added an extra layer of depth to the 6th Form’s performance.
Just as the audience had been crooned into a relaxed state Mad Haven stormed onto the stage to deliver a power rock punch. With their usual slickness, tight ensemble playing and energy the boys wowed us once again with their two original songs ‘Light it up’ and ‘We are fighting’.
Now for the finale, and there was no better group to handle the task then the musical entertainment force that is the Year 11 band. A band who this author and his band refused to play before or after, it would be like trying to follow Queen at Live Aid 1985! Josh was his usual charismatic self, the only front man you would find with the same energy usually fronts The Rolling Stones. Even with this force of nature up front the band that carries him can hold their own musically. From ‘Highway to Hell’ to ‘Hard to Handle’ and of course the encore by request ‘Johnny B’ Goode’ each song left the audience rocking in their seats and cheering from an excellent night of talent and entertainment.
As I drive home I have that same sense of pride I have from any school event. Pride for the pupils and their inspiring confidence and talent, they have no fear, pride to be associated with such an amazing community and pride knowing I work with some truly incredible teachers. A massive Wayne’s World style bow down to everyone involved; Dr and Mrs Ward, every pupil who formed the production team (and were being marked for their music qualification) the supportive parents and of course the talented acts…I am not worthy!