After a one year hiatus due to 2018s conspicuous March snowfall, the Friends’ Cabaret Night made an emphatic return this year as one of the highlights in the Challoner’s calendar. This widely anticipated event featured a number of groups from both DCGS and DCHS entertaining the audience with a range of genres across the musical spectrum.

Proceedings began with the Joint School’s Swing Band, whose members played an excellent half hour set featuring classics such as Copacabana, and also a new repertoire including Caravan, a Duke Ellington number notable for its appearance in the film Whiplash.

This rousing start was followed by the five piece jazz combo drawn entirely from Sixth Form students - Delta Blues - who played a stylish rendition of the jazz standard Butterfly by Herbie Hancock, paving the way for a selection of smaller scale items. The DCGS Sixth Form Girls Choir ushered in a more contemporary musical feel with an arrangement of Sia’s Cheap Thrills, but it was not long before the jazz returned in the form of the Freddie Gavita Jazz Combo. The mood hearkened back to the atmosphere of the jazz clubs of the 1960s with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley’s Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

This segment of the evening also showcased performances by the DCGS Brass Group and a well-received solo arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody played by Caitlin Frank on the piano. Jazz Workshop, Challoner’s own introductory jazz group then rounded off the selection of musical appetisers, demonstrating the band’s increasing confidence as they played two pieces conducted by Sixth Form student Charles Kershaw-Green.

After such an evening of talent, the time was right for the Jazz Band to take the stage to display their musicianship to the expectant audience. Jazz Band played nine numbers, ranging from classics such as Misty, originally written by Erroll Garner, arranged to maximise the rich sonority of the band - including a soaring trombone solo, and more funk-based tunes such as The Chicken, composed by Pee Wee Ellis, and Jarvis’ Flight to Augusta which certainly had the feet tapping. Mr Tansley then took a few moments to thank the Year 13 band members who will be leaving this year before the night ended with an encore of Big Noise from Winnetka.

Huge thanks must go to Mr Tansley, Mr da Silva, Mr Griffin, the visiting music teachers and to the performers for all the work that went into producing a fantastic evening that was enjoyed by all.