The lights were bright, the stage positioned, the microphones primed, yet the occasion not too daunting for the Tradonian performers. As the time drew near, the Catholic Chaplaincy filled with the 350 or so students, eager to see their classmates and friends show off their vocal, instrumental and comical abilities. Host Will Jefferson, philosophy teacher and performer extraordinaire, embraced his inner Tom Cruise as he infiltrated the show on a sliding trolley whilst Co-Host Oliver Smith, Program Assistant and enthusiastic performer, danced his way onto the stage to Earth, Wind & Fire’s September. Together, they kickstarted the performance with an uplifting dance routine of Grease Lightening.
The first half of the show was dominated by musical acts – ranging from lofty vocals, slick plucking and elegant tickling the ivories. Alexander Bjornstad and Pedro Larrea opened the show with X’s and O’s, followed by the whirling rhymes of Alphabet Aerobics, rapped by Jandro Alcantara. Manuel Elizalde belted out Beauty and the Beast’s If I Can’t Love Her. Angela Yan’s rendering of Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu truly dazzled the audience, drawing a standing ovation.
Pedro Larrea followed with a stirring guitar and vocal performance of Ed Sheeran’s The A-Team. The piano once more featured as Jamie Ho delivered Arabesque No.1 and Tate Gibbons amazed with his inspiring improvisation. Broadway ‘crossed the pond’ as Vicky Luo sang Phantom of the Opera’s Think of Me, whilst McKenna Kelly delivered a powerful rendition of Manhattan.
Up next were three vocal performances: Anastasia Kalloniati singing Who’s Loving You, Nastja Schiedler and Violet Massie-Vereker duetting In the Middle and to finish the first half, Alexandra Bjornstad belting out Something’s Got a Hold on Me. Another highlight was Paisley’s McKenzie’s Highland dancing to Ed Sheeran’s Nancy Mulligan.
Following a brief interval, the show resumed with a specially modified version of Alexander Hamilton, from the musical Hamilton. Mr Jefferson, the host, rapped about the program and the experiences of the students. Then followed a beautiful duet of Sweater Weather by Xander Howell and Cara Christie, a deep vocal expression by Will Tway through I Know Him, a hilarious comedy routine by OxTrad returnee Marcelo Fernandez de la Mora, a plucky ukulele performance by Russel Sy, and a piano performance by Anne Straith of The Raindrop Prelude.
Sophie Behzadi sang a heart-wrenching take on She Used to be Mine, followed by a stylish adaptation of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb by Hugh Notman on the guitar. Axel Rivera de Leon and Griffin Smith duetted Can’t Help Falling in Love, whilst Michael Gharib rocked the stage first with vocals in Agony, then in Perfect on the piano.
The audience was then treated to a sample of Indian music through Mansa Sukheja singing Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon, followed by an incredible original composition – The Wind and the Wave – sung by Mia Huber with her guitar. Xander and Cara returned to the stage with an impromptu guest to perform a rendition of Vance Joy’s Riptide that brought the whole room to its feet cheering, singing and dancing.
Colette Macarios certainly didn’t carry an umbrella when she stormed through the hall with her strong vocals in Rain on my Parade, and Ethan Clock took no prisoners with his special take on Feeling Good, first entrancing the audience with his vocals before turning to his fancy footwork in tap dance. Finally, to end a truly wonderful evening filled with so much talent, the self-organised a capella group ‘The Singing Spires’ worked their magic, and a ragtag group of staff sang their hearts out to Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing, bringing the entire hall once more to its feet in dance and song.