From piano solos to serious guitar riffs, and more in between, the talents of students at Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School were showcased — and they never cease to amaze.
Playing to a packed Alnwick Playhouse, the Band Night gig must have been nerve-wracking for performers, but if it was, it didn’t show, despite a couple of technical hitches.
The event featured some of the groups from the school, as well as those involved in a North East schools battle of the bands competition.
First up was the DCHS big band, made up of a students from Year 7 to 13 on drums, clarinets, flutes, saxophone and brass instruments, and conducted by music teacher Jonathan Ridley.
They set the tone for what was a fantastic night of music, with beautiful versions of Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes and A-ha’s Take on Me.
Next was Bad Ending – Callum von Schalkwyk, Billy Clayton, Stewart Oxley and Gregory Brewis – who raised the tempo. Their rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit was brilliant.
The tempo was slowed by Double Glazed – Florence Mills and Rosie Shotton – who gave a mesmerising performance of Not About Angels by Birdy. It captivated the entire theatre, with beautiful piano from Florence and stunning vocals from both girls.
This was followed by an original piece, It Could Be Summer, written by Rosie, which also saw her guitar skills.
They finished with Young, by Ella Henderson, to complete a beautiful set.
The tempo was raised again when Second Hand High came on, featuring Ruby Falke, Harriet Renner, Jack Clements and George Dodds. They were just superb. Ruby and Harriet sang beautifully, while also playing rhythm and bass guitar respectively. They were fun and vibrant, and a big hit.
Then it was the beautiful Aimed Red, featuring Palesa Thompson and Bethany Kirkley, with Dan Lyst on drums. The girls made a fantastic duo and were in perfect harmony. They sang Hearbeat by Scouting for Girls stunningly – definitely one to watch.
After the break it was time to see those who competed in the Battle of the Bands – Sunkissed and Runners.
Sunkissed, a duo of Toby Cooke and Lucas Thornbury, were brilliant and fun. Their performance of Everlong by the Foo Fighters was absolutely superb, a difficult song performed impeccably, with superb guitar and an amazing drum solo from Toby. A brilliant duo who will go far.
Saving the best till last, it was Runners, featuring Jack Clements, Gordon Rae, Ruari Ryan and Alex Rae.
They came third in the Battle of the Bands and it was clear why. Jack, the frontman, was just superb. From rock numbers to piano solos, he has it all. Ruari is an amazing guitarist with fantastic talents, and Gordon knows his way around the drums.
Jack’s piano solo was stunning and mesmerising and all eyes were on him.
And their final song, Green Day’s Time of Your Life, was just amazing. They had fans dancing in front of them, which just summed it up.
It’s no secret that the Duchess’s School breeds talented students, but they just keep getting better. It wouldn’t surprise me to see these students selling out gigs in the future.
A wonderful night of music that really showcased some superb talent.