Gaudy Week 2016 was as ambitious as ever with a huge array of cultural, sporting and academic events taking place across the School.
The first weekend saw the final of the Warden’s Project, with the top prize being awarded to Reha Soni for her extremely well executed cookery book. As well as sharing her family’s favourite Punjabi dishes, Reha’s book raised funds for Contact Elderly, a charity tackling loneliness among elderly people. Onwards then to the Leavers’ Platform at the Holywell Music Room on Sunday where our departing musicians gave polished and spirited performances for friends and family.
Following an engaging and informative lecture by Richard Millar from Oxford University’s Atmospheric and Climate Physics Department on Monday, the Shells embarked on a collaborative project to work out how to make St Edward’s entirely sustainable. Their thoughtful proposals were presented in an exhibition in the Hall on Wednesday.
Both productions, Bassett and Shakespeare Lives, were extremely well received. Shells and Fourths honoured the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a devised promenade performance combining the facts of Shakespeare’s life with the actors’ own thoughts and feelings about the Bard. Bassett was an exhilarating, powerful performance looking at war through the prism of a group of school children locked in a classroom: with more than an echo of Lord of the Flies, factions formed, tensions rose and drama unfolded.
The Dance Show was as wonderful as ever. The theme, ‘at the movies’, was a great excuse for some much-loved favourites. There were gasps as Liz Skarga and Misha Kirillov attempted the famous scene from Dirty Dancing when Patrick Swayze lifts ‘Baby’ up into the air. They pulled it off magnificently, much to the delight of the audience. Elsewhere, the depth and range of dance talent in the School shone through in an extremely entertaining and impressive showcase.
As ever, music played a huge part in Gaudy Week festivities. Following the Leavers’ Platform, we enjoyed Jazz from the House Band, the Close Harmony Showcase and two quite spectacular Gaudy Concerts, the second of which featured a stunning video accompaniment by Celia Hodgson and Casper Sunley. A magnificent tribute to the pupils and the school year, the footage was exquisitely set to the Symphony Orchestra’s rousing performance of the Star Wars suite. Equally rousing were the pupil rock bands who entertained guests over lunch in the Gaudy marquee — Here in Our garage, JRH, Chef and We’re Like an Orchestra performed covers and originals, providing a fitting end to proceedings — and the term.
In sport, the 1st XI ended their season in spectacular style with wins against Radley and Cheltenham to retain the John Harvey Cup for the 4th successive year. AJ Woodland notched up another century to smash the record for the highest number of runs in a season after scoring a staggering 1207 since September. At Henley, our boys’ 1st VIII gave us three exciting days of racing. Beating King’s Chester on Day One, they faced Hampton on Day Two in a race that could have gone either way. Composed and cool under pressure, the boys held on, found drive when it was required, and kept ahead of Hampton to win by a length. On Day Three, the boys were up against the mighty Eton and despite a determined and powerful row, lost to the eventual winners.
Overall, Gaudy Week was an exuberant, energetic celebration of life at Teddies; we look forward to continuing the good work when everyone returns to School in September.