Thank You For The Music

It would be wrong of me to start this week’s Master’s Voice without paying due respect to the quite remarkable production of Sweeney Todd which, inter alia, ensured that the first half of the Lent Term finished in a blaze of glory. So many colleagues and parents have told me that they cannot remember seeing a better musical at Wellington and I have to agree. The entire cast were outstanding from individual soloist to ensemble member, and every single one of them, along with the musicians, the production and front of house teams must be congratulated for their remarkably assured and mature performances. With the exception of the Speech Day reprise, it is unlikely that we will see any of our Upper Sixth stalwarts on the Wellington stage again and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all – and there are far too many to name individually! – for entertaining us so royally as singers, actors and dancers over the past five years.

I have believed for some time that the quality of the performing arts at Wellington is West End quality and that there can be very few, if any other non-specialist schools which consistently produce performances of the professional standard we see so regularly at the College. I was thrilled, therefore, to receive the following comments from a variety of Prep School Heads who came to see the show on the final night. One wrote, “The performance was outstanding and would not have been out of place in the West End”. Another penned, “The show was quite outstanding. The energy of the cast, their voices and the sheer professionalism – it really could not have been bettered”. Finally, “We were rather starstruck both by the production and the theatre. The show was so professional that one was lured into the belief on the night that one really was at the National or some such, but the more I look back, the more astonishing was the achievement of all involved, particularly in mastering the most fiendishly difficult score imaginable. Huge congrats to all involved”.

Sweeney was Wellington at its very best, a glorious fusion of talent from across all year groups, truly coeducational, creative, sassy and thought-provoking. The production oozed with a profound sense of joy and teamwork from all involved, and I must finish my panegyric by thanking the three key staff without whom the show would not have been the success that it was: Clare Cooke, as Director of Choreography; Sean Farrell as Musical Director; and Jim Russell as Director. The warmth of the words of the cast at the end of the final performance told us everything we needed to know about the impact, inspiration and leadership of this triumvirate. It was, once again, a timely reminder to me of how fortunate I am to work alongside so many remarkably talented and committed colleagues.

As the snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils slowly emerge around the College site, we now head into the business end of the academic year during which the Fifth and Upper Sixth Forms sit their mock examinations, the Lower Sixth take on more leadership responsibility, the Third Form start giving serious thought to their GCSE choices, and the Fourth Form plough on with their business as usual. We wish them all every success with their various endeavours over the coming five weeks and hope that the second half of the Lent Term is as productive, joyful and successful as the first half was.

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