More creativity for House Music Competition - Hurstpierpoint College

More creativity for House Music Competition

The House Music Competition is one of the most eagerly anticipated Senior School events of the year. Usually, the entire school – students and staff – would gather in the chapel to witness some excellent ensemble playing and singing, plus plenty of enjoyment and involvement from the house songs. Clearly, this year, it was not possible. Group bubbles and social distancing meant that we had to come up with a more creative approach to the competition.

Technology has given us many tremendous ways to stay together whilst distanced during the various lockdowns and restrictions that have been in place this year. We decided that the best way to approach this year’s competition was to harness the technology that our students have at their disposal to create house songs. Each year group in each house is a bubble and they filmed themselves on a phone or laptop singing along to a backing track. These four films (Shell, Remove, Fifth Form and Lower Sixth) were then put together on one screen so all the year groups were, effectively, singing together.

Each house approached this task with a good deal of creativity and it was great to see that many had thought about the interaction between the screens. Sally the dog was passed between the screens in the Woodard video; Wolf highlighted various screens by turning the social room lights on and off; Red Cross sang in the chapel with different groups on different sides to make the finished video look symmetrical; Phoenix filmed in the New Bury Theatre with some lighting effects; and Martlet threw things from screen to screen very effectively indeed. The next hurdle to overcome was how to show these videos in a way that engendered the same level of special community that is so evident in the House Music Competition.

The houses were allocated venues in which to watch the broadcast of the competition with some in the new Muga Dining Hall, some in the New Bury Theatre, the Chapel, the Old Bury and so on. The videos were then streamed to YouTube, interspersed with live commentary from Mr Agate and Mr Chadwell who were in the IT Department watching. At various points we were also able to go live to the venues themselves where Mr Matthews interviewed members of the audience and gave those watching a flavour of what was happening in different places around the campus.

Following the 12 house songs, we were then able to go live to the adjudicator, Mr Chris Jameson, who joined us from his home in Brighton. Mr Jameson was the perfect adjudicator for this remote competition. Following many years at the BBC as a producer, most notably of the Five Live Breakfast Show, he now runs his own media training business teaching people how to face the camera and how to present themselves on live media. He was most impressed, not only by the standard of the performances but also by the way the competition ran on the day. He had a tricky job picking a winner as so many of these performances had aspects of which to be proud In the end, Phoenix emerged triumphant with their rendition of Ugly Heart by G.R.L.

Congratulations must go to Phoenix but also to all who took part and entered into the spirit of this competition so well. Particular thanks must go to Mr Carroll, Head of Music Technology, who led the behind-the-scenes team who made all of this possible. This really was a truly memorable distanced community moment.

Neil Matthews, Director of Music