Headmaster’s Newsletter – 17 November 2017

Dear Parents,

On Wednesday morning we held our annual Remembrance Assembly. This is an important time in the school year and has many resonances both in the founding of the school and where we hold our assemblies every week. Hill House was founded in the aftermath of World War II in the hope that education, understanding and tolerance might help to avoid that kind of conflict from happening again. As the Minister reminded us during Assembly, the Commander of the British Forces in World War I, Field Marshal Earl Haig, was an Elder at St. Columba’s. He had seen a group of French war widows selling silk poppies in 1921 and recognised the potential of these poppies to become both a symbol of Remembrance and also as a means to support the welfare of ex-Servicemen.  By 1922 Haig had established the first Poppy Factory in Richmond, which is still there to this day.

Colonel Townend served in the Royal Artillery and our Brass teacher, Mr S-C, also served with the regiment. The Last Post and Reveille that we play are the specific ones used by the Royal Artillery. A couple of years ago we bought four Cavalry Trumpets, sometimes known a fanfare trumpets. They have no valves so all the different notes are produced purely by a combination of breath control and embouchure. The Last Post and Reveille are played on these and Mr S-C was extremely impressed with how well the boys performed on Wednesday. Mr S-C has also written a piece for use at Assembly that uses the Cavalry Trumpets so we will be seeing more of them in future.

Continuing the military theme, Middle School have been visiting the newly renovated National Army Museum which is next to the Royal Hospital, home to the Chelsea Pensioners. The final group will be going next week.

Showcases, both musical and dramatic, continue every night in Founders’ Hall. Monday evening saw the pupils in Upper Gamma produce their own created play on the theme of “Witches, Wizards and Potions”. We have also had woodwind and cellos. Tonight at 6.30pm Mr S-C is bringing his Brass quintet to Founders’ Hall for a special concert in aid of the NSPCC. Members, past and present, of the school brass consort will be joining in too. I would like to draw your attention to the Soirée d’Or Showcase next Wednesday, 22 November. This is a special concert given by some of our most talented musicians many of whom will be hoping to win music scholarships to their next schools. Do come and support these evenings, more details can be found in the diary on the website.

Best wishes,

Richard Townend

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