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Monmouth’s Got Talent 2016March 10th, 2016
Monmouth’s Got Talent is an annual charity event held by the three senior schools in Monmouth with the aim of raising money for a deserving charity, loosely based upon the format of a more well-known talent show (no copyright infringements here).
Taking place last Wednesday, the Blake Theatre played host to nearly 500 audience members who all came to enjoy the plethora of talented singers and musicians that had been produced from the local schools. Three acts from each of the Comprehensive, Haberdashers’ Girls’ School and Monmouth Boys’ ensured there was lots of support for each performance, making the evening an enjoyable, if very noisy, event.
Before the senior acts, however, were the winners of the offshoot of the spin-off of the better-known talent show (Junior Monmouth’s Got Talent), Lysander and Tom. The pair did a novel double act of timed Rubik’s Cube solving with violin accompaniment – and like their performance at JMGT, the duo pulled a rapid time from the bag, solving the cube in 90 seconds and receiving a large round of applause.
After that the first set of acts commenced, with Ella from Monmouth Comprehensive School (MCS) taking to the stage singing confidently “Bound To You” by Christina Aguilera, followed by a highly engaging Joe, of the Boy’s School (MS), playing the guitar and singing an original composition. After that was Bronwen of MCS singing “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush while providing guitar accompaniment, and to conclude the first half, Bethan of HMSG both playing a piano piece she had written and singing lyrics she had devised herself.
Post-interval had an equally stunning set of acts on offer, of which it was getting difficult to decide who would come out victorious. The Projects, a band composed of MS students, opened by raising the roof with their recital of “American Idiot” by Green Day; which was calmly and elegantly contrasted by Amy of HMSG singing “Listen” by Beyoncé. Cassie and Ella from MCS performed their very own sister act involving singing a medley of songs as a duet, while also playing the ukulele. Also performing a medley of songs were Ed and Owen of MS – both were confident on stage and seemed highly popular with the audience for both their guitar playing and singing. The final entrant was Saffron from HMSG, the youngest entrant by far, who wowed the judges with her clarity and strength of voice as she sang “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse. This concluded the list of entrants of the evening, and signalled an adjournment for a round of audience voting.
Settled into seats once more the audience then got a surprise performance from the winner of MGT 2015, Max, who repeated his idea of a medley of songs on electric guitar, but this year broadened his range of included pieces to include anything from Disney’s “Frozen” to the incredibly complex “Flight of The Bumble-Bee”. This stunning set took nearly seven minutes of impressive guitar playing and reinforced with the audience why Max had been the previous winner.
Votes were now in, and the judges had made their decision on the top three. In third place was Ed and Owen, in second place was Amy, but taking first place and winning both a slot at Monmouth Festival and recording time at Nimbus Records was Bronwen.
Bronwen once again took to the stage, slightly more shaken than the first time round, to play the audience her winning piece, confirming what a difficult decision the judges had had to make.
This year the prefects of each school agreed that the charity of choice should be “Mind Monmouthshire” a local mental health charity based in Abergavenny which aims to help people accept, understand and tackle mental illnesses. It was felt that such illnesses, like depression, are more commonly stigmatised by the general populous than they are accepted; as writer, comic and mental health activist Kevin Breel said, “If you break your arm, people will run to sign your cast. If you say you have depression, then they will run the other way.”
However to battle this stigma, the combined effort of the Monmouth School’s has so far helped to raise a whopping £2603.93 to go to Mind Monmouthshire – a big thank you to all those who donated.
Thanks also goes to Mr Shakeshaft for helping organise the event and provide the voice of calm to the proceedings, Ellie for stage-managing the whole affair, George for all the technical help surrounding the evening, Mrs Atkinson for providing the printing access to all the propaganda, and the Senior Prefects and Heads of Schools of the Comprehensive, Girls’ School and Boys’ School who put in a lot of effort to organise the event and ensure that it ran smoothly.