I had been asked numerous times over my tenure as Director of Music if we could perform the Sound of Music for our biannual Senior School musical here at St. Paul’s. For a number of years, I was reluctant to agree as we simply didn't have enough singers willing to take part. Imagine my surprise this year when we ended up with so many pupils auditioning for roles that we had to decide to have a double cast! Such was the talent that we felt we needed to include all in the project. To say it made the rehearsal schedule more complicated is an enormous understatement. In fact, we never had the entire cast perform together until the week of the performances in late November. What was a great relief, however, was the evident camaraderie of the pupils and their hard working ethos. This year we included a small group of Prep children to play the part of village children (especially written into the play) and they brought some charming scenes to the show. The show is a real golden oldie, and it was soon apparent how timeless the songs are. I well remember watching the film back in the UK every Christmas and being transfixed by the music and the story. Well, if the singing of the songs around the corridors of the school (even now some days after the performances) is anything to go by, then they are just as attractive today as they were back then.
Over 1000 tickets were sold and the audiences showed their strong appreciation after each performance. As my last production at the school, it was a truly moving and memorable one. To see so many of our pupils being involved in performance arts, with such skill and dedication, was extremely satisfying. The talent and professionalism of our large cast and backstage team were certainly impressive, and the rounding ovation that awaited them after each of the four performances spoke for itself. Here our very own Captain Von Trapp, Upper Sixth pupil Gabriel Newton, reflects on his experience performing in his last production at St. Paul’s:
Director of Music
St. Paul's School
I was the Captain for the musical and, like all other past characters I have played – David, Freddy, Alfie, Billis and “random WW1 Soldier who plays the harmonica” - this character stuck with me. There will always be a place for the Captain in my mannerisms. This was my last acting performance on the school stage, as this is my last year in school. I kind of liked being the oldest member of the cast; it made me feel very responsible, and helped feed my "very-much-exaggerated" sense of maturity.
The following is a message to people who are thinking of acting yet haven’t tried it yet; anyone with the slightest doubt as to whether they should or should not get up on stage along with everyone else: I once heard, somewhere, that doubting yourself, not believing that you can do something....is the most selfish thing possible. “I know you share this love. I pray that you will never let it die.”
(Captain Von Trapp). Gabriel Newton Upper 6 pupil