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Student Contributions

Josh Dyer
Upper Sixth
South Town

Elleri Hughes Advanced Performance Platform

Elleri Hughes Advanced Performance Platform

First off, I think it’s important to note that I am not a fan of musicals, so it was with a sense of not quite foreboding, but certainly a feeling that the coming 45 minutes would not be especially enjoyable for me, thankfully this fear proved to be utterly unfounded.

I think the main difference between the ‘Advanced Performance Platform’ and the ‘Lunchtime Recitals’, apart from the increased amount of time that you have to play for in the Advanced Performance, is that you do not have the promise of a decent sized audience coming from your respective House. The long and short of this being that you have to generate an audience based solely upon your reputation within the School as a performer. Considering that it was a Monday night (typically a time when students and teachers alike just want to get home) the decent sized audience that Elleri assembled really does show her reputation as an impressive performer.

Introduced by Mr Drinkwater as a ‘Musical Force of Nature’, Elleri and her accompanist Mr Hills proceeded to treat us to nine numbers, taken from a selection of Elleri’s favourite musicals. The opening song was from the 1966 musical Cabaret and was entitled ‘Maybe this time’; it was introduced extremely confidently by Elleri, as though she was utterly in her element. It was a stunning opening number and really set the mood for the rest of the performance.

The key to Elleri’s success as a singer is, in my opinion two fold. The first being her exceptionally wide vocal range, this was vividly on display in ‘I’d give my life for you’ taken from Spring Parade, belting out effortless high notes, and ending the piece on a stratospherically high pitch, which drew breaths of amazement from the crowd. Also a key component of her singing is just how strong and versatile her voice is, never was this more evident than when she sang ‘Movie in my mind’ from what I later learnt was her favourite musical; Miss Saigon.

I noted that Elleri’s teacher, the ex- professional opera singer Margaret Thomas was nodding approvingly with every note of that number, and from a woman with such a distinguished career, this is a high compliment indeed. The closing number was just incredible, it being ‘Defying gravity’ from the contemporary musical Wicked. She captured perfectly the subtle moods of the specific part of the musical that the song was extracted from, and portrayed them beautifully; giving the impression that you could easily be watching something off Broadway.

After she received a well deserved standing ovation, I asked Elleri where she sees her singing taking her, imagining that she would answer along the lines of ’straight to the West End’ but her response was very modest, ‘I would love to just be involved with musicals in any form, be that performing or even just as a stage hand.’ Well, considering the strength of that performance, it is very much more likely to be the former.

5 February 2011

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