09 December 2019

A Night at the Movies

More than 250 musicians, actors, dancers and singers took to the stage in a performing arts extravaganza celebrating cinema’s relationship with the world of music.

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And there was plenty of action when more than 250 musicians, actors, dancers and singers took to the stage in a performing arts extravaganza celebrating cinema’s relationship with the world of music which has brought great films and their characters to life over many years.

It is a privilege being part of the Foundation Orchestra and we started the show with a medley of some of John Williams’ best-known melodies brilliantly conducted by Mr Palmer, including the haunting ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ from Harry Potter. The audience was then transported to a scene from one of my favourite films, Jurassic Park and also taken to ‘a galaxy far, far away’, as the Star Wars fanfare sounded an unforgettable finale with Luke Skywalker gazing out from the giant cinema screen behind.  

Conducted by Mrs Kiggell, the Wind Band gave a dazzling performance of The Big Country, and I dressed as the Milkybar Kid in a white cowboy hat, tan waistcoat and red bandana defeating Black-Hearted Grace (Grace Yu) in a milk-drinking contest and throwing a handful of Milky Bars into the audience. The captivating Pirates of the Caribbean melodies which followed gripped the audience, as pirates swashbuckled on stage combining music, film and live theatre into one unique adventure.

As the movies slid into the classic age of Hollywood, Sevenoaks Strings performed the legendary ‘Love Theme’ from The Godfather and ‘Intermezzo’ from Cavalleria Rusticana. Each of our gentle melodies was contrasted with two powerful scenes acted in front of us showing how music adds emotion and intensity to big screen moments.

The incredible harmonies from the ballads, ‘Hushabye Mountain’ and ‘Moon River’ really showcased the talents of the Senior Girls Ensemble and the Middle School Chamber Choir with Mr Dyer. They were accompanied by a breathtaking performance of incredible dancing and umbrella twirling in the famous scene from Singin’ in the Rain, as Anar Shah stepped effortlessly into Gene Kelly’s dancing shoes.

One of the musical highlights for me was the performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto no 2 in C Minor. With the 1945 film Brief Encounter flickering on screen in the background, the Symphony Orchestra accompanied the chance meeting at the station of Ana Deeley and Felix Allan who recaptured the fleeting moment in a film only my grandparents seemed to have heard of. Ian Chan’s incredible performance on piano left us all mesmerised throughout. Mr Potts then continued his conducting with a magical performance of the ‘Flying Theme’ from E.T. and the audience was treated on stage to the well-known Halloween scene, with Grace Goodwin as ET disguised as a ghost in a white sheet and me as Michael (this time in a hat with a knife through it) trying to keep ET out of sight. 

Suddenly, it was the 1960s and the tempo increased with Chuck Berry, an electric guitar and energetic dancing in a fabulous scene from Pulp Fiction re-enacted by Ana Deeley and Andrei Golovanov. The action was seamlessly followed by Big Band’s ‘The Pink Panther Theme’ and a comedy sketch from the film led by Monty Thompson which left the audience in stitches.

And finally, as the lights dimmed, the stage was transformed into a James Bond medley of famous scenes and musical themes. The iconic Bond film score was bashed out brilliantly by Big Band with Miss Homewood sneaking in to play M, and a very cool Ejas Deane as Mr Bond. The Live and Let Die soundtrack rounded off what was truly an extraordinary collaboration of performers, conductors, choreographers, stage and technical crew, all under the superb direction of Mrs Hargreaves.

Both nostalgic and unforgettable, A Night at the Movies was a classic among Sevenoaks performances and I am very grateful to have been given the chance to be part of this amazing production.

Annabel Nuijens, Year 9


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