Friday, 3rd February 2017
This week has been a week of great pleasure for me. On Tuesday we enjoyed the Worcester showcase, a concert where all the boys who sing in the Worcester choir were able to show off their voices. I was very struck by the fact that though the choir sounds when listened to wonderfully harmonious, that the boys themselves have extraordinarily varied voices. It’s splendid to hear how far this choir has come recently. They sing with real commitment and character and I would recommend that anyone make a visit to Worcester’s wonderfully ornate chapel to hear them. They perform on Tuesday 6.15 – 6.45 or Sunday 5.45 – 6.45. I find it so moving that such a small school can provide choirs of real quality.
The future of the Cathedral Choir was being assured last Saturday when we held this year’s Chorister for a Day. Fourteen excited boys took part and there was a great deal of potential talent on show. There seems to be an enthusiasm for singing at a high level which in some senses is surprising given the almost counter cultural nature of the undertaking. Fortunately there are clearly enough people who understand the extraordinary benefits of an education – indeed a life – of commitment to a higher calling. To join the Cathedral Choir is to help maintain the cultural life of our nation and to ensure the continuance of something of overwhelming value. I am thrilled that we had a good number of people interested in thinking about such a life. The day went well and, as it happened, the Cathedral had decided to hold the installation of Honorary Canons on the very evening that the aspirant choristers were taking part in Evensong
so not only did these young boys witness the finery of a major Cathedral event including the appearance of the new Bishop, staff in hand, but they were listened to by 100s of people – not a bad start to a potential chorister career.
Every year we award Cardinal Scholarships to boys in Form Two. The boys take various academic tests and undergo a short interview and the standards set are very high. The scholarships are awarded to those who perform very well in the tests and who show academic potential of a very high order. This year we awarded a scholarship to Gonzalo who performed magnificently. This was particularly impressive in that English is not his first language. I wished to congratulate him publically. We were extremely impressed by the standard of the papers and are very proud of the boys who entered the exam.
As I write, we are in the season of scholarships. In the past three days I have heard of five awards that have been made to our boys by senior schools and there will be doubtless many more to come. When we have heard of the complete list I will publish it; needless to say I am very proud of the many boys who have achieved so much. None of these awards comes about without a great deal of effort on the part of the boys and of their teachers.
It was Candlemas on Thursday. Candlemas is the celebration of the moment when Christ was presented in the temple. He was recognised by the old man Simeon as the messiah, someone that Simeon had been waiting for all his life. It’s a festival which is particularly associated with light and with children, as Christ was a young boy, of course, when the presentation was made. I shouldn’t let this day pass therefore without noting that it is of such importance for all of us who spend their lives living and working with children to remember the extraordinary light they bring to our lives and how important it is that we work tirelessly to ensure that they grow up to be people who can continue to shed light upon a world where there is always the potential for darkness. Our responsibility as educators is profound but equally who could be more privileged?