Friday, 13th May 2016
It was a great pleasure to take the Worcester Choir to Winchester Cathedral on Wednesday evening. I was very pleased with the way in which the boys, used as they are, to the small, but highly decorated chapel at Worcester, dealt with the vast airy spaces of the Cathedral, having, as it does, the world's longest mediaeval nave. The choir sang with real sensitivity and were a great credit to themselves, to the wonderful organ scholars and director of music who spend so much time with them, and to the School. On the very same day, the Cathedral Choir sang Durante's Requiem. If you are feeling nervously that you are not sure whether you have heard of the piece or not, please be reassured that you almost certainly haven't because it is a piece
which has rarely been performed in recent years and indeed Dr Darlington has spent last Trinity term on Sabbatical producing a new edition of the piece. It will form the subject of a CD recording later this term. The concert was part of the Oxford Early Music Festival, was a very significant performance historically and was tremendously well-received. Not a bad day at the office, as they say!
I wanted to let you know about two new appointments that we have made. Miss Emma Hunt who is currently doing a PGCE at Exeter University and who studied at Oxford Brookes, has been appointed as the Form Four teacher; she impressed greatly at the interview with her strong sense of vitality and her enthusiasm. She came across as a real natural in the classroom, something which I consider to be of vital importance. I am certain she will prove to be a real asset to the School and that she will work very effectively with Miss Green in Form 3. Mrs Fiona Fisher has been appointed to teach ICT, to help the Bursar oversee our system, to help staff make the most of the resources available in their teaching and to ensure that the school is up to speed with all elements of electronic communication. Mrs Fisher was in charge of IT at St Helen's and St Katharine's School, in Abingdon, until recently and has a long term interest in both IT and teaching. I am very excited about both appointments.
Next Saturday is the House Music Competition. I would be very grateful if you would ensure that your boys are in school for this extremely important event and I would recommend thoroughly that you should attend as it is a really outstanding occasion. The whole morning is rounded off by the House songs which will have been the object of great attention in the run up to Saturday and which are matters of great competition. I hope very much to see you there. This will be followed by the Art exhibition in the William Walton Hall. I know that the pupils have spent a great deal of time preparing for the day and so it should be a real tour de force.
It was lovely to have Pre-Prep in Cathedral Assembly today. I was talking about the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the great moment being celebrated by the Church this Sunday. I was talking of someone I had met recently at a dinner who had turned out to be a very special person. I asked the boys who they thought she was. One boy guessed an archaeologist, a very sensible suggestion. Another boy, and I thought this the model response, suggested it might have been his mother! I think he'll go far. My favourite response, though, was a young man who, with great confidence, suggested that she could have been a Latin teacher. Being married to such a person myself, I really couldn't have thought of a better answer. Aren't young boys the very
fount of wisdom.
Very shortly afterwards, I attended Pre-Prep Assembly. One of the boys had done the most magnificent sketch of a castle, complete with turrets, ramparts and a fearsome looking portcullis. Underneath was a beautifully penned explanation which the pupil read out in front of everyone with elan. The designer of the castle, he read, had been "Big, better and bold!" - a wonderful thought and a splendid use of alliteration! I said to all the boys at the end of the assembly that they should all go out this weekend to be "Big, better and bold!" (I explained that I was going to attempt to do this, though without, probably, becoming any bigger.) It was then that one boy put up his hand and said that he was keen to try so he would go off to have his hair cut. Miss Farmer asked him why, "So that I can have no hair and be very bold indeed." Well, boldness then is something I will have no problem acquiring!