This year saw the return of Harrogate Grammar School to Harrogate Theatre to perform The Sound of Music for three nights, the last production at this venue was Les Misérables which left the audience stunned at the incontestable talents of the Harrogate Grammar School students.
The Faculty of Performing Arts continue to set the bar high and set themselves the task of bringing the world-renowned production of The Sound of Music to life. First performed on Broadway over sixty years ago, the well-known musical tells the story of Maria, whilst deciding whether to become a nun she takes a job as a governess to a large family.
Set in Austria in 1938, pre-war, Maria finds herself falling in love not only with the children but also with the widowed father, Captain von Trapp. As war looms Captain von Trapp opposes the Nazis leaving him no choice but to flee Austria with Maria and the children.
Students ranging from years 7 to 13 were involved in all aspects of the show, including the technical team, orchestra and cast which itself comprised of around 90 students (and a handful of staff nuns!). As the curtains opened each night, the audience were transported to join the cast and orchestra on a journey to the mountains, Maria played by Ella Williams opened with ‘Sound of Music’ the well-known classic which immediately set the scene, sung effortlessly and beautifully.
Other stand out moments include Mother Abbess played by Head Girl, Phoebe Kyriakopoulos, who brought tears to the eyes of many with her rendition of ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’. ‘Ordinary Couple’, the duet sung by Captain von Trapp (Eddie Cluderary) and Maria (Ella Williams) led you to believe in the tender blossoming romance forming. The light relief was brought about through Josh Holmes and Grace Brennan cast as Max Detwriler and Elsa Schraeder and the wonderful witty portrayal of their characters, Josh in particular expertly embraced the role with a bit of cheek, allowing the audience moments of humour. The delightful the von Trapp children played by Annabel Vincent (year 7), Biba Click (year 8), Isabell Trigoso (year 9), Harry Barker (year 9), Mia Felstead (year 9), Ryan Lam-Decker (year 11) and Eve Townsend (year 13) approached their roles with careful artistic interpretation allowing the audience to identify with each of their characters.
The musical and theatrical direction from Mrs Janet Metcalfe and Miss Roo Nicholls for these roles was very strong but this was not limited to the principal characters, each member of the cast gave 100%. The strong chorus supplied powerful voices and equally powerful characters that aided the storytelling, taking each member of the audience on their own journey.
Not to be forgotten, the orchestra, led by Head of Music Charlie Gregory, performed incredibly each night accompanying the cast, their highlight was the ‘Entracte’. Lastly, the unsung heroes, the technical team worked remarkably in ensuring everything ran as smoothly as possible.
Mrs Charlie Gregory, Head of Music, said:
One of my favourite things (pun intended) in this particular musical is that the principal roles allow students to be showcased from years 7 to 13. The same is true of the orchestra and crew. Each student has worked tirelessly since September to bring this performance together. The sense of enthusiasm and community that has developed has made me feel very honoured and proud to work with such creative, talented and inspiring young people and staff.
Mother Abbess played by Phoebe Kyriakopoulos said:
Playing the role of Mother Abess in my final year at school was so exciting and definitely one of the highlights of my time at HGS, singing ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ will leave a positive memory with me for life. It took a lot of hard work to get to the final performance but it was definitely worth it as the show was enjoyed by all.
On the last night, as the curtain fell and the orchestra stopped playing to a packed audience for the last time, all the students gathered for a huge ‘whoop’ of elation on the stage, celebrating the huge success of a stunning production which has seen months of dedication, hard work and commitment from all involved.
Ella Williams as Maria said:
Being cast as the lead role in ‘The Sound of Music’ was a true honour. All the roles gifted the whole cast with many valuable opportunities; to perform in the beautiful Harrogate Theatre, to form valuable relationships with other talented and creative students and to watch a piece of theatre grow from day one into the professional performance it became. For me, the most amazing aspect was the sense of community we formed as a cast between the younger students and the Sixth Form students, it was clear that everyone had the desire to perform to the best of their ability and put on a good show. I felt the show was a great success and it will be a lasting memory for me as I hope to venture into the world of musical theatre in the future.
Josh Holmes as Max Detwriler said:
I thoroughly enjoyed my time throughout The Sound of Music for a multitude of reasons, the atmosphere in rehearsals, the anticipation as it got closer to the opening night, the new friendships you make and of course the thrill of being on stage and performing. It meant so much to me to have been cast as such a big role in the show, a role which I feel was very well suited to me, that I could have fun with. I enjoyed working with the whole cast as we all got along so well resulting in a fabulous show that we were all happy and proud of.
Harrogate Grammar School have blown audiences out of the water with this year’s musical and their talents never cease to exceed expectations. Following this success Harrogate awaits announcements for the next show to, once again, showcase all the talent the school has to offer.