Posted on: December 15th 2016

The Big Tour 2016

The Big Tour        2016


Thomas Bennett students proved once again to be as popular as ever at this year’s Big Tour.

The event consists of a series of Christmas Music Concerts staged for local Primary schools in Crawley. This year the shows were watched by children from Broadfield East Academy, Hilltop, Seymour, Desmond Anderson, Southgate and The Oaks primary schools. On arrival our in house DJs,  DJ Skweez ( Daniel Bow) and DJ Skwish (Luke Bradford) showed off their mixing skills with some great music to get our visitors in the mood for a great show. Once our audience were seated the show began with thunderous performances by the brilliant African Drummers who then invited our young visitors to join them on stage and perform alongside them. So many excited youngsters took up the challenge and gave a rapturous performance with the Thomas Bennett Drummers.

Each of the concerts were filled with an assortment of thrilling acts that demonstrated the immense and varied musical talent at Thomas Bennett Community College.

The year 11 rock band consisting of Jack Goode on lead guitar, Andrew Heresau on drum kit and Matthew Rowe on keyboard and vocals performed 21Pilots hit, ‘Car Radio’ much to the delight of the audience. Matthew Rowe’s vocals have shown how much he has developed into an amazing all round talent. Ben Ames, Harry Philpott, Maxwell Smith and Alex Jupp performed the Arctic Monkey’s song ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and were watched by many a wide eyed in the audience. All performers were able to perform to their old primary schools and it was wonderful to see our students saying hello to their old teachers. Desmond Anderson school were mighty impressed by former student Isaac Dayball’s drumming skills as he performed the song ‘Sweet Disposition’ by Temper Trap with Emily Hains on Vocals, Neil on guitar and backing vocals and Mr Dobson on bass. Ben Ames certainly impressed students from his former school The Oaks with a fine solo performance on guitar and vocals of some of the Smiths songs including that great hit ‘This Charming Man’. The same can be said of both Elena Wahnon and Kieron Ashley who both performed with great confidence and style on guitar and piano. Cien Crimen and Lucas Perestrello delighted their audiences with songs by Passanger and Justin Bieber’s new song, ‘Cold Water’. Another amazing vocal duet was Pedro Frozi and Rodrigo Agarelia who gave a highly entertaining performance of the song Cheerleader that got the crowd singing and clapping along.

For many of our students, this was their first Big Tour performance. Aliyah Geere and Lauren Chisnal were accompanied by Sas Thompson on piano giving an expressive performance of a song originally by Elton John, the lovely’Your Song’. In another performance Aliyah delivered a very moving rendition of Ella Henderson’s ‘Missing’ and also performed Ed Sheeren’s ‘A Team alongside Lauren with Sam Storr on keyboard and Ellie McMullen on guitar. The lovely Lea Brooks also gave a beautiful performance of another Ella Henderson songs, ‘I’m Yours’ demonstrating an immense amount of maturity and style for someone so young. Every time I hear Lea sing I have to remind myself that she is still only in year 8.  It was great to have around sixty year 7 students joining us for their very first Big Tour. These included an up- beat and lively performance of The Overtones’ hit song’, ‘Gambling Man’ by Kayleigh Peters with her amazing backing singers, Sophie Gatton, Abbie Pejda,, Nel Karnaszewska and Abigail Lambert. Again there was much praise from their primary school teachers. Kiera McQueenie and Katie Martin both gave beautiful performances of ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Air’showing off their emerging talent. The audience gave a most rapturous applause after Jette Tabot’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’. For many this was one of the many highlights from the event and demonstrated what an incredible vocalist Jette is. In another concert she was accompanied by Chloe Ball on guitar for the song ‘Part of Me’ by Katy Perry. Personally I would say Chloe and Jette’s version is much betta! Another fine vocalist and new to the Big Tour was Caleb Griffiths who is someone to really watch out for over the coming years. Caleb performed Clean Bandit’s new hit single ‘Rockabye’ demonstrating a great vocal range and accompanied by the slick rapping of Bobbie Marshall.

Bobbie also performed Eminem’s brilliant ‘Mocking Bird’ accompanied by Shania Kilby, Bethany Chandler and Caleb Griffiths with great style and had the young audience crying out for more. As stylishly cool and laid back as ever, the Reggae Band with Alvinio Boucarry on vocals, Andrew Heresau on drums, Cedric Velloo on keyboard and Jeremy Flore(who came back ‘specially for the event) were as entertaining as ever, as was Alvinio who also performed solo in one of the later concerts. Likewise, the Jazz Band featuring Neil on drums, Maxwell Smith on guitar, Alex Jupp on basss guitar, Emily Hains on keyboard, Charlotte Simmonds on saxophone/clarinet and Jade Sibley on vocals gave a powerful and stylish performance of ‘You Don’t Own Me’ recently covered by Grace. Now Jade Sibley is one of those vocalists who can hit notes most singers only dream about. And this was certainly the case when she fronted the choir for the Mariah Carey classic, ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’. In a word, her performance was epic. So too was the other Christmas song by the choir with the amazingly talented vocals of Alex Janes taking the solo part for Wizard’s ‘Oh I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday’. Both students along with the brilliant Thomas Bennett Choir brought the shows to a very entertaining and climatic end with audiences happily singing along.

So who have I deliberately missed out? Of course it could only be the lovely Charlotte Simmonds who sadly performed at her very last Big Tour. She has entertained primary school audiences over the past 7 years with her skill on both saxophone and clarinet and at this years Big Tour it was no different. Giving a very moving performance of Christina Perri’s, ‘A Thousand Years’, Charlotte once again demonstrated what an incredibly talented instrumentalist she is. “So Long Charlotte….We will miss you and thank you for all the great performances!”

So…yet another memorable and highly enjoyable display of talent from our students in the 2016 Big Tour which left the primary students of Crawley counting the days till next year’s event. Hopefully, the event will encourage our younger peers to take up a musical instrument; start singing; form their own rock, reggae and Jazz bands. Then maybe they can be part of future Big Tours or other musical events. Thank you to Mr Dobson and Neil for all your hard work and to the stage crew boys, Tyler James, Ethan Black and Jacob Bell. Well done to all the students who took part in this event.  You were the ones who shone, with performances that were quite simply….the best.


“The Big Tour was so much fun to be a part of. I shall look forward to doing it for the years to come.”

Caleb Griffiths


“The Big Tour was amazing, so much talent. I had so much fun and can’t wait to do many more.”

Lea Brooks


“I thought the Big Tour was a great experience and it built my confidence a lot.”

Aliyah Geere


“It was cool and different”.



“I loved it. The best experience of my life.”



“The Big Tour was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed it and hope I can be part of the next one.”

Kayleigh Peters


“I have enjoyed always enjoyed taking part in the Big Tour since I was in year 7. It’s an amazing experience performing in these concerts. This was my last Big Tour and I will always have great memories of it.”

Charlotte Simmons