20 May 2020
Ardingly College staff, friends, and family were treated to a wonderful night of jazz at the annual Cabaret event. This year, however, was to be a little different. Instead of being hosted in the Under, the event was held in the stunning Ashdown Park Hotel. The hotel venue, a beautiful converted Church, was home to some wonderful music making from a variety of soloists and ensembles as we bid farewell to a long and hectic school term.
Compering the night were Rosey Holland (U6) and Miss Susan Gilmour Bailey, both of whom spoke with delightful ease throughout the night. The Jazz Band were a constant feature of the event, performing both as a main ensemble and as the accompaniment for several soloists. They kicked off the evening with two classics – the Theme from M*A*S*H by Johnny Mandel and Traces by Buie, Cobb, and Cordy. Following this, Beth Martin sang Cry Me a River with a grace and maturity beyond her age, and Freya Maurice-Jones gave a classy rendition of the classic Body and Soul on the saxophone. We were then treated to a surprise performance of Sisters from White Christmas by Abigail and Rebecca Horton, complete with feather fans and choreography. Following this, Schola Cantorum performed their set, featuring Somewhere Over the Rainbow, The Road Home, Smile, and Skylark, in which Emily Ward sang the solo verse beautifully. Archie Colville went next with a suave Lullaby in Birdland, followed by our leading String Quartet playing Piazzolla’s Oblivion. Grace Hitchen then sang the famous Bond hit Goldfinger with tremendous power, and Eithne Yates-Kneen teamed up with Effie King to sing Be Happy, as performed by legends Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. To conclude the first half, Abigail Horton took to the stage with the Jazz Band to wow us with the big band hit Feeling Good.
After a delicious meal, the night kicked off again with an impromptu appearance of the Gents’ Choir who sang My Evaline and Steal Away with rapture and gusto, earning a hefty round of applause. To carry the bright mood, the Jazz Band appeared again with Fascinating Rhythm, the upbeat jazz standard by Gershwin. Laura Crooks then stepped up to the mic with a very smooth Georgia On My Mind, with Louis Edwards-Munro next up with another work by Piazzolla, Milonga en Re. Our compere Rosey then took to the stage with a fiery performance of Mama Morton, who she incidentally played in the school’s Michaelmas term production of Chicago. Rebecca Horton then slowed the tempo down with a lilting performance of Ordinary Fool from Bugsy Malone. The two final solos were performed by girls in their final Cabaret appearances. Effie King beautifully sang At Last with Louis Edwards-Munro as her accomplice on violin, whilst Eithne Yates-Kneen delivered a dynamic delivery of They Just Keep Moving the Line from Smash. As the night was coming to an end, the fantastic Girls’ Choir stepped forward to perform three songs: Joyful Joyful, Lullaby in Blue, and Everlasting Love. Finally, the Jazz Band finished the act with Sir Duke and The Chicken, both of which have become hits with the students. As the rapturous applause subsided, the vocalists combined to sing one final song, the crowd favourite Goodnight Sweetheart, to wish the audience well on their ways back home.
It was an extraordinary night of music making, that wouldn’t have happened without the staff and students of Ardingly College stepping up and giving it their all. Please feel free to have a listen to the audio tracks from the evening!