First run in 2019, the fourth Eton Songfest took place between Friday 3 February and Sunday 5 February. Songfest aims to celebrate the wide breadth of singing taking place at Eton and this year included six events across the weekend.
A double-bill on Friday 3 February featured boy-led performances in a concert of musical theatre items curated and rehearsed by Charlie Z, followed by a late-night lounge Open Mic event run by singer and songwriter Nicholas P. Some exciting new voices were here from boys in Year 9 all the way up to Year 13.
On Saturday 4 February, in a collaboration with the Modern Languages Department, some of the School’s best classical singers, together with German Declamation prize winner, Tingshuo Y, provided a relaxed and sophisticated evening of 19th century German poetry and song.
On the morning of Sunday 5 February, College Chapel Choir and instrumentalists treated us to Haydn’s Little Organ Mass in its liturgical setting as part of the Sunday morning worship in College Chapel. That afternoon, Songfest 2023 concluded the week on an upbeat note with its highly-anticipated Showcase Concert. All items were organised by Ms Kemp, the Head of Singing, in collaboration with the Music, Drama and Modern Languages departments.
The concert was a fusion of performances from across the weekend and included individual singers performing classical pieces alongside musical theatre group excerpts by Eton’s two close harmony groups – ‘Etonality’ and ‘The Icognitos’ – and Pop Choir, the inclusive choir for students of all abilities. Pieces consisted of both classical and contemporary works.
The concert itself opened with a light-hearted preamble – Introduction and Instructions to the Audience from Sondheim’s The Frogs performed by Joshua ON and Thomas B, tuning the audience to the rest of the show. All performances were strong; highlights included performances of Viva La Vida and Patience performed by ‘The Incognitos’. The ECMS Music Theatre Group also distinguished itself with a well-choreographed performance titled Hello from Book of Mormon, devised by Ms Wine in the Drama department.
The Showcase Concert is in the fourth year running, and is a fitting demonstration of the variety and versatility of musical expression in singing at Eton College. Approximately 80 boys took part in the concert alone, with many taking part in multiple acts, as part of multiple groups.