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FP's and Teachers

This section will contain details of Former Pupils and Teachers who are happy to disclose their whereabouts !    It will take the form of pen pictures, articles and photographs about your favourite FP and School characters, famous and infamous.     The first entries will appear shortly, but please contact us if you wish to nominate anyone for inclusion, or indeed wonder what happened to them.

The first person to be added is Dr John Murray, Depute Rector and Principal Music Teacher who retired recently.     See the News page for a pen picture - this section is for reminiscences.

Dr John Murray

(By Shona Margaret Thomson, School Captain 1995)

“WATCH!!”

“WATCH ME!!  I know I’m not pretty, but PAY ATTENTION – I’ll bring you in.”

When that familiar boom rose above a certain level of decibels, you knew a Royal High School Choir concert was to take place in a few days.  And you knew if you weren’t watching, you and everyone on this side of Munich would know about it.

Musicians are a strange breed.  They are capable of communicating a full range of emotions – something most of us can’t do to the same extent.  The beauty of a Mozart Clarinet Concerto comes from within the performer (with a little help from Wolfgang Amadeus).  The vitriol of the Dies Irae movement in a Requiem comes from a full strength chorus and orchestra.  The sadness of the Lacrymosa movement comes from the poignant silences of a choir restrained.  In order to satisfy the listener, these emotions need to be brought out from the performers – and that’s what John does.

The RHS Community Choir has been going for around 10 years now, and is a group of adults (in the loosest possible term) from all walks of life.  It started out when pupils in the School Choir came home from the Munich trips with endless stories of high jinx on buses and boats, late night concerts in Italian churches, and impromptu bouts of singing in the German alps.  The parents wanted in on the act.  Doubling the strength of the School Choir could certainly not harm it, so John obliged.  7.30pm on Thursday nights in the Music Department became the place to be for parents, teachers, former pupils and anyone else with a passion for singing.

The choir has evolved since then.  After a bit of singing, we usually retire to the RHS Athletics Clubhouse for a sociable libation.  RHS Music teacher Andrew Morley is a regular and loyal conductor/supporter.  And since its inception the choir has been on its own trips to Stratford-Upon-Avon, Oxford, Liverpool, Kidderminster.  As many members as possible also try to join in at least one leg of the Munich/Italy trips.  Many of the original choir would have told you: “I’m no musician.”  But if you had witnessed this year’s concert in Munich, tackling the subtle intricacies of Mozart and John Rutter, you would hear it is now a very different story. 

This is one of the great qualities John has brought and continues impart to us.  You want to sing the best you can for him.  Whether it’s because you love the music or you know you’ll get a slagging if you don’t, either way it works!  We all know how formidable John is, but to have him conducting on a stage, fervently sweating and waving his arms about in front of you with a pointed object in his hand, certainly brings any emotion he wants out of you – piano or forte

Shona Thomson, October 2003

 

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