Friday, 7th December 2018
Our week began with a visit from our charity for this year, Soundabout, a charity founded by the parents of a boy who, very sadly, was so handicapped that he had very few ways of communicating with the outside world. However, his parents found that they could reach him through music. As a consequence they founded Soundabout with the object of bringing music to some of the children with the most profound difficulties and it is clear that some of the time which the workers spend with those they help is some of the most important time, opening up the outside world to them. The effects can be close to miraculous. One of the people who works for Soundabout demonstrated to the boys some of their methods of communication whether it be drums that were scratched, sticks that were hit or musical vibrations sent through boards.
Soundabout has also formed a choir in which any of the people known to them can make music in whatever way they can. It seems a charity which we are in a very strong position to support, given the musical nature of our School. Not only can we raise money for them but it is almost certainly the case that we can work with them to bring music into the lives of some of the people with whom they work. There is a lovely personal connection too as the parents who founded Soundabout, who came to visit us with their practitioners, had a son who went to CCCS in the 1970s. He still runs a choir to this day and remembers his time in the School fondly. This year both the School and the PTA are supporting the charity so we can all work together to help fund this vital work. I hope very much that all in the School community will be fully engaged.
On Wednesday we had our informal concert. It was particularly delightful in that almost all of the performances were groups; there were a number of string orchestras and brass ensembles, all of which performed with great energy. During one of brass ensemble the performers played improvised solos magnificently - a very difficult thing to do. The concert made me reflect upon how lucky we are in terms of the quality of our peripatetic music staff. In particular, Mr Somerville, our brass teacher, could not be more enthusiastic and it is lovely to see so many boys playing brass instruments now. Equally, Mr Wilson who has overseen our string orchestras from inside his many multi–coloured trousers for many, many years retains all the panache and energy of youth. He even convinced the members of the audience to jangle their car keys to aid the performance of Jingle Bells. Our boys are so fortunate.
This week also saw the first outing of our chess team against the Dragon under the guidance of Chess Master and parent, David Zakarian. It was a very successful trip, CCCS winning almost all of the matches. Details can be found elsewhere in the newsletter. I am very grateful for Mr Zakarian’s enthusiasm in supporting Mr Dodd, who runs the weekly sessions of chess at the School so successfully.
Another highlight for me was Nursery’s lovely carol singing event. Dressed as snowmen surrounding the figure of Mary with her baby firmly within the crib, the boys and girls sang us various seasonal songs including “Incy Wincy climbing the Christmas tree,” “ I’m a Little Snowman” and “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.” The boys and girls concentrated very hard, the words coming out in a very determined manner and the accompanying actions accompanying performed with intense focus. I was particularly struck by how well all the watching parents seemed to know the words of all the songs! It occurred to me that when parents have young children, the magic of Christmas comes alive just as much for them as for their offspring. It was an utterly joyous occasion and much to the credit of our wonderful Nursery staff.
Next week, too, looks very exciting and busy. At Pre-Prep Assembly today I asked the boys what they thought I felt was the most exciting thing about next week. A boy raised his hand and responded immediately: “The Nativity!” “How did you manage to guess that?” I asked. “Because it IS the most exciting thing happening next week!” came the reply. Quite.
Although our pupils will be continuing to work right up to the last day of term, we will also ensure that they enjoy fully the spirit of the season – just as we all should.