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Friday, 12th October 2018

 

Dear Parents,

Next Easter, a number of boys from Forms 7 and 8 will be going on a combined Classics and Modern Languages trip to Provence to see some of the spectacular Roman remains which that glorious part of France has to offer. The trip is expensive and so the boys decided that they should try to find ways of helping to pay for the trip by doing some fundraising. On Wednesday, therefore, they put on a concert which was interspersed with some wonderfully witty sketches about the way in which an Englishman might ask various different “foreigners” the way to the station. As ever the sketches had been written by Mr Richards and were beautifully performed by the boys. It was lovely to see that all the parts - Italians, Germans, Frenchmen, Russians, Spaniards - were played by native speakers and it brought home to me how many languages are spoken at the School. It also reminded me of the number of characters there are amongst our pupil body, each individual bringing something unique to the dramatic offering as indeed they do to the life of the School. Shakespeare was not wrong when, in As You Like It, he likened life to a play with seven acts and here in the performances I saw a wonderful portrait of our School. The only other place when Shakespeare likens life to a play that I can think of is at the end of his famous tragedy, Macbeth, where the hero likens his life to that of an actor’s performance – life is like a “poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing!” Well, fortunately, the evening was anything but a tragedy and the performances reflected so positively upon the life of the School. The music, too, was glorious and equally varied; there was jazz, piano, trumpet, recorder, solo voice, a choir, guitar and so much more and all of it of an amazing standard. It really was a kaleidoscopic evening which was thoroughly entertaining and the whole occasion raised more than £350 for the trip. I was touched by the number of staff who were prepared to give up their evening either to perform or be in the audience.

Thank you so much for your support of Open Morning which is occurring tomorrow; we have a large number of people coming, perhaps partly in response to an advert which we’ve run on Jack FM which a number of you have told me you’ve heard and enjoyed. We’re always thinking of new ways to help promote the school and turn it from a hidden gem into a rather more visible one as this has to be in the best interests of the place. The most effective way of allowing it to become known is personal recommendation so please do recommend Christ Church to your friends; there is nothing more powerful than your personal recommendation.

I have been feeling relatively sprightly recently and not at all my age but the world tends to have a way of ensuring that one doesn’t get away with such thoughts for too long. I encountered one of the Pre-Prep boys the other day and as I bounced up to him feeling full of the joys of autumn, he looked at me in a surprisingly searching manner and asked in the disarming way that many young pupils have, “Mr Murray, how old are you?” My training as a teacher has taught me to respond wherever possible by asking questions, so I did so on this occasion, “How old do you think I look?” I realised, as he started to examine me with a focus which was bordering on the forensic, that this might not have been a particularly wise idea – “Hmm,” he said, “Very!”

I was also entertained to hear my thoughts upon the importance of food which I wrote about in the Oxford Times recently being reiterated by another pupil when I was doing boarding duty with the Choristers last night. He told me that he had lived in several countries in his life so I asked him which one he had most enjoyed living in. He listed the various merits of the different places and then came to Italy. “Well in Italy,” he explained, “you get the best pizza and ice cream and you can’t argue with that!” No indeed! It’s clear that it’s not only armies that march on their stomachs but choirs too!

Have a good half term when it comes on Wednesday.

Mr Murray


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