It was a day for solemn reflection. Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Long spent the day with Year 9 and 10 delivering activities on this topic (see Mr. Lincoln’s article). In the afternoon, we were moved by Ms. Lee Singer (the Ambassador’s Deputy Chief of Mission)’s recount of her personal family’s story.
In the morning, Secondary students took part in a very special assembly organized by the Ambassador of Israel, Ms. Meirav Eilon Shahar. We were honoured to be able to receive Dr Weiner, a composer, pianist and musical producer from Jerusalem who spoke about life in the prison camps. He talked about some musicians who continued to compose music in the concentration camps. He made us think about the emotions and terror that these people had suffered. We were privileged to hear some of the music composed during those terrible years thanks to Dr Weiner, who was accompanied by 4 musicians from Hanoi. Some of the music was sad, as one can only imagine, whilst some was full of hope. It was powerful and made you feel close to those people who had undergone such terrifying experiences. At the end, we were all taught and joined together in signing ‘Years of Childhood’ by Mordechai Gebirtig. This was a very poignant moment. This is a memorial service that is unlikely to be soon forgotten.
It made me think of the power of Music and the role it plays in people’s life. As Victor Hugo wrote, ‘music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent'. This was certainly the case in the concentration camps. Music is an important aspect of education. Plato, one of the eminent Greek philosophers, believed that education should be based on three disciplines – gymnastics for the training and development of the body, Mathematics for the training and development of brain, and Music for the realisation of the soul. Not only do students learn about themselves when they study Music but they learn to work together and share as well. Before the first world war, Richard Dreyfuss said during the Grammy Awards broadcast on the 28th of February (National Coalition for Music Education 14), "A nation that allows music to be expendable is in danger of becoming expendable itself". Music certainly brings people together of all ages, all backgrounds and all nationalities and should unit the world. We should not underestimate its place and role.
Mrs Sarah Wild - Head of Secondary