The annual Vocal Performance of the Helen Wareham Competition is always a popular event and this year was no exception, with a packed Recital Hall to hear the 22 young and gifted singers taking part.

Cranleigh has always been proud of its tradition of strong singing in the school, the excellent balance between girls and boys and how seriously it is taken. Every year group always has their star vocalists but a hallmark of this year’s competition was the incredibly high standard across the board. Every performer without exception delivered at the top of their game to make a truly fantastic celebration of vocal excellence from Bach to Blues.

The panel of adjudicators, Mr Pashley, Mr Futcher and Mrs Beddison, had a very tough job on their hands selecting the winners from such a strong cohort. As always, one is looking for that certain ‘X’ factor where everything falls into place and makes an adjudicator want to ‘put down their pen’ and enjoy.

There were several such performances of this kind and, after much deliberation, the results fell as follows. The three Senior Competitors going through to the final: Bea Pakenham-Walsh for a superbly technically controlled O mio babbino caro by Puccini; Frankie D’Agata for a truly engaging performance of an aria from Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saens and Imogen Shepherd, whose purity of tone perfectly suited the music of J.S. Bach.

In the Junior competition: 1st – William Marshall, who held the audience in the palm of his hand for a spell-binding The sky above the roof by Vaughan Williams; 2nd – Scarlett Stehlik for exquisite clarity and fine tuning in Lotti’s Pur dicesti;  3rd – Cameron Reader for a wonderfully communicative and stylish Stranger in Paradise based on a beautiful theme by Borodin.

The strength of the Juniors and excellent balance between boys and girls, all developing their voices so well, is exciting to see and much thanks and credit are due to our team of superb vocal specialists in the Music department: Kathryn Harries, Birgit Rohowsky, Adrian Goss, Graham Wili and Tim Dickinson who inspire their pupils to such high levels of achievement.