Thursday 7 December 2023 will forever be a momentous date in the history of Westholme, as we welcomed a huge number of OWs back into the Croston Theatre, uniting students and staff from across the decades to celebrate 100 years of Westholme School.
Our Head of INSPIRED Sixth Form worked alongside Directors of Music, present and past, Mr Holt and Mr Millest, and the wonderful Mrs Lewis; an incredible team who, under the leadership of Mr Oracz and the combined artistic talents of our music maestros, masterminded a concert for the ages. Old Westholmians came together from across the country, returning home to honour our school and once more dazzle audiences as part of our impressive Centenary Choir and Orchestra, a mixture of current and former students, side by side, expressing their gratitude to Westholme and every part it has played in their personal journey. The calibre of performance, from start to finish, was a testament to the quality produced through Performing Arts at school, with students who have performed on the West End or lead careers as professional singers, standing in the spotlight to rapturous applause.
With only a single day to rehearse together, it was clear throughout that we were going to be witness to something magical. With the purple carpet laid out and audiences arriving in their concert best, you could feel the anticipation and excitement, as Thomas Franks provided a champagne reception for our esteemed guests. It was wonderful to welcome back former colleagues, students, governors and our wider Westholme family; our purple network returned with eager anticipation and looked forward to the celebratory concert. Amongst our dignitaries were former principals Mrs Croston and Mrs Horner, the Mayor and Mayoress of Blackburn, former Director of Music Mr Millest and Anne Longson, the granddaughter of Emily Singleton, the founder of the school.
When the lights went down, Mr Oracz’s vision came to life, with every act receiving roars of praise from an audience who were simply blown away, not just by the talent on stage, but by the love for Westholme that resonated within the theatre and showcased the spirit of Westholme School. With solo performances from Les Misérables and the Phantom of the Opera, to a musicals medley, showcasing extracts from the various musicals performed at the school over the years, there was truly something for everyone. From a violin duet and swing band to a piano masterclass by all of our Music teachers and a Disney medley by the Lower Senior Choir, it was a wonderful programme of entertainment.
Each of our guest speakers gave such poignant and emotional speeches, sharing their complete gratitude to Westholme and everything it has done to set them on their life path. We are all so fortunate to be part of this special school and our Centenary Concert was testament to the quality, spirit and purple magic so many have benefitted from for the last 100 years. We closed the show with the choir and audience passionately raising the roof with an abridged version of the Abba classic, truly thanking Westholme for the music and so much more.
We are grateful to all of our alumni and wider Westholme family who gathered to make the evening such a success, and to all of the staff and students who came together in that typically spectacular ‘Westholme Way’.