WITH its enchanting storyline, irresistible score and catchy songs, Ilkley Moor was truly alive with the Sound of Music during the Ilkley Grammar School production which ran from February 7-9 selling out on each night to audiences of 270 with an additional performance to visiting students from local primary schools.

Ilkley Gazette: The show at Ilkley Grammar School

Following on from We Will Rock You last year, this was another impressive production with a wonderful display of student talent and powerful and convincing characterisation from the main cast and supporting roles and even including some drone footage of Ilkley Moor which was projected at the start of the show.

Ilkley Gazette: The show at Ilkley Grammar School

Carly Purnell, Headteacher, said: “We were excited to bring to the stage one of the world’s best loved musicals and retell its iconic story of hope, courage, love, solidarity and the power of music.

“This is a timeless and enduring classic which evoked childhood nostalgia in many of us, whilst still having the ability to move and charm the audience no matter what their age. We were touched by the exquisite six-part choral singing in the Preludium to the beautiful renditions of Climb Ev’ry Mountain and Edelweiss and were left upbeat and cheerful following uplifting songs from the title number to My Favourite Things, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and the yodelling of The Lonely Goatherd.”

Ilkley Gazette: The Sound of Music at Ilkley Grammar School

There was powerful and convincing acting and singing throughout the production including from the delightfully headstrong, joyful and impulsive Maria (Millie Trevitt and Daisy Button), the wise Mother Abbess (Grace Chadwick), the commanding Captain Von Trapp (Alex Ashman-Hogan and Matthew Disney) and his seven enchanting children - Liesl (Emma Chapman), Friedrich (Will McCutcheon), Louisa (Isabelle Atkinson), Kurt (Adam Disney), Brigitta (Evelyn Kennedy), Marta (Mahalia Beevers) and Gretl (Saskia White) who between them delivered the perfect amount of naivety, confidence, mischief, sensitivity, sass, gentleness and cuteness. There were also strong supporting performances from Rolf (Hugh Ameigh and Sam Woodward), Max Detweiler (George Grant and May Halifax) and Elsa Schraeder (Ash Macintosh-Dixon and Ava Chaplain) and excellent, polished ensembles including several from a wonderfully serene and harmonious group of nuns. The joy and power of music was also reinforced by the masterly performance from the live orchestra which showcased a wide range of musical talent across the different years.

Ilkley Gazette: The show at Ilkley Grammar School

What was particularly special about this show was that it involved over 135 students from across all year groups, and also provided opportunities for students in a range of roles both on stage and behind the scenes including sound, lighting, staging, set and costume design.

Ilkley Gazette: The Sound of Music at Ilkley Grammar School

Mr Jamie Gutch, Deputy Headteacher: Personal Development said: “The school production is one of the highlights of the creative year at IGS and, having recently worked more closely with the Creative Arts Team, it has been incredible seeing first-hand the positive impact that such experiences have on students. During rehearsals there was a real buzz and tangible excitement as students worked alongside committed staff to bring everything together. The annual Creative Arts residential at Ingleborough in November is where the team really starts to gel and from that point on it is a huge collective push as the teams work towards the final performances. The school production is a true expression of our school vision which is to provide exceptional, inclusive opportunities and to enrich students both individually and collectively as a community.

Ilkley Gazette: The show at Ilkley Grammar School

“A former IGS student who is now studying drama at theatre school recently told me how special and formative the school performances they had been involved at IGS had been. Opportunities such as these really do have a long-term impact on the life-choices students make.

“Whilst many different staff and the PTA supported the production in various ways it simply wouldn’t have happened without the following colleagues who deserve a special mention:

The directors and musical directors: Lara Ramrattan; Rebecca Clift; Jess Womack; Victoria Chapman; Nick Peters and Catherine Cox; The Technical Team Manager: Adam Grayson; The Set Painting Coordinator: Hannah Whitley and the Media Team including Kristel Hutchings and India Parmar for the projections and filming.”

Ilkley Gazette: The Sound of Music at Ilkley Grammar School

It is perhaps the students themselves who should have the last word:

"Being a part of the school show has been such fun. I have loved being part of the cast and learning new skills in acting, dancing, and singing. The final show was amazing! The atmosphere backstage was really positive, and everyone helped each other. I can't wait to find out what next year’s production is going to be!"

- Minnie Booker, Y8 (cast)

"Working on the Sound of Music will most likely be something I look back on fondly. It was the first time I have ever played an individual character in a production before; and it felt incredible to be able put yourself in the shoes of that character and bring your own perception and personality to it... Being a part of this production at Ilkley Grammar School is certainly something special; and for me personally is one of the best things I have been a part of and it really helped boost my confidence."

- Jeff Cook, Y10 (cast)

Ilkley Gazette: The Von Trapp singers

"For me, this production was incredible, not only as Captain Von Trapp was a wonderful character to play, but the cast that I had the honour of acting alongside where amazing. From the largest to the smallest part everyone put their all in and it truly brought the world of the Sound of Music to life."

- Alex Ashman Hogan, Y12 (cast)

"Throughout the production, I enjoyed learning about the technical side of theatre, which allowed me to expand my knowledge on how shows are run. This allowed me to improve my skills such as working with other members of the team and cast allowing me to improve my communication with other people in a professional setting along with other important skills, such as problem-solving... I am looking forward to being able to work on this even more next year."

- James Cumberland, Y10 (backstage)

“As always, working on a school production is an incredible experience and this year’s show was no exception to that. Working with the amazing Creative Arts Team, orchestra and cast as the Stage Manager is a privilege and it is clear everyone involved wanted the production to be unforgettable. Being able to lead the diligent and hardworking Backstage Team and work alongside the amazing crew is an experience I will never forget, and I cannot wait for the IGS production of 2024!"

- Dylan Hurst, Y10 (backstage)

"I am really grateful to have had so many wonderful experiences with the IGS showband. Every single performance was exciting and memorable. I made special memories and forged friendships within and between year groups. I have been challenged to play a great range of repertoire, and encouraged to be the best performer I can be. Each show makes us feel like part of a special team, and I will really miss it after I leave!"

- Esme Gutch, Y13 (Orchestra)

"It was a great performance to be a part of, as everyone gave it their all and it came together perfectly. The teachers were awesome in supporting us all and put so much time and effort into it."

- Zac Wilson, Y9 (backstage)

Ilkley Gazette: The show at Ilkley Grammar School