Fabulous Founder’s Weekend
This year’s Founder’s Weekend was blessed with amazing weather and right through from the very moving Founder’s Service in Chapel to the phenomenal closing Dance Showcase ‘Downe the Rabbit Hole’, every event, activity and display showcased the impressive talents of the girls and the willingness of everyone to come together and get involved for the good of the community.
The PE Department welcomed a huge turnout of families to take part in the Family and Friends Tennis Tournament on Saturday morning and congratulations are due to the Shepherd-Cross family who beat off the competition to be crowned Tournament winners. Also out on the Sports Field was the Clay Pigeon Shooting and La Porte Archery activity which was also very well attended and enjoyed by many families.
The first event of the day was the Fashion Show which kicked off with a lively gymnastic display of girls tumbling down the catwalk. Then the Upper School girls modelled customised punk t-shirts, skirts and many other creations which they had designed and made themselves. Later in the day, the Drama Department presented the School Musical based on Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Into the Woods’ which immersed the audience in the magical world of the journey of the baker and his wife.
Music is a key strand running through Founder’s Weekend and the first musical event was the final of our exciting music ensemble competition, ‘Bring the House Downe’. The standard of the finalists was tremendous and so there were difficult decisions to be made but with thanks to our wonderful Chair Adjudicator, Dan Peters, this year’s ‘Bring the House Down’ winner was declared to be ‘Quackers’ who had given a truly sensational performance. The audience cup for the ‘Most entertaining performance’ was awarded to ‘Whacker Whacker Boom’ who really engaged and amused the whole audience.
From the Choral Workshop and Music Showcase through to the Founder’s Concert, Buskers’ Corner and the Family Big Band BBQ, our talented musicians brought Founder’s Weekend alive. There were 450 appearances by some 160 girls, all of whom appeared in the Founder’s Concert on Sunday afternoon which featured notable performances from all of the large instrumental ensembles from classical to jazz, pop to world music and orchestral to choral. The grand finale of the Founder’s Concert saw parents, staff and alumnae join the girls on stage to sing Ola Gjeilo’s ‘The Ground’ which was a totally ethereal and stunning experience for both choir and audience.
Every aspect of Downe was on display from the Department Exhibitions, Computing, DT, Cookery, Maths and Science Workshops as well as yoga and thai massage on offer in the very popular Wellbeing Tent.
Of course, one of the most anticipated highlights of Founder’s Weekend is the truly show-stopping Founder’s Tea, which was served on both afternoons. Tables in the Dining Room and the beautifully decorated marquee were laden with strawberry cream scones, chocolate eclairs, the most delicious and dainty sandwiches as well as the most tempting selection of cakes. Everyone took full advantage of the sunshine to spread themselves out across the grounds for family picnics at lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday creating a really relaxed and social atmosphere. Founder’s Fair on Saturday afternoon was a tremendous success and the five charity stalls masterminded and run by the girls in support of their House charities raised over £1000.
The last event of the weekend was the much-anticipated Dance Showcase, ‘Downe the Rabbit Hole’, a giddy fantastical show which transported the audience to the fantastic universe of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and featured some dazzling dance performances from the girls. A fitting finale to a spectacular Founder’s Weekend!
Assistant Head and the Founder’s Weekend ‘Chief Organiser’, Mrs Michelle Scott said, “This has been an absolutely brilliant Founder’s Weekend and I was delighted to see everyone enjoying all of the wonderful activities and events. I am immensely grateful to all of our staff and girls who have worked so hard to produce such outstanding displays, fabulous performances, inspirational concerts, interesting workshops, fun-packed activities and most of all, thank you to everyone for coming along, getting involved and having fun together!”