Harrogate Grammar School students and staff gathered in the Main Hall on Thursday 8th November to present an Evening of Remembrance. The Armistice Centenary warranted special attention, and so students and faculties from across the school contributed to answering the simple question ‘Who Will I Remember?’.
As guests arrived through the main entrance, they were immediately welcomed by a powerful Art and Design installation created by Year 7, 8 and 9 students. They had carefully constructed poppies from newspaper and wire, painted them red, added images that were important to them and then personalised each one with a note of remembrance. Sandbags dated with 1914-1918 and a silhouette of a soldier completed what was a very powerful piece.
The History department had carefully researched students’ ancestry and displayed this information on a map of Harrogate showing connections between students and family members who had served in the wars.
The evening itself began with Year 7 students sharing their poems and letters of war that had been created in their English lessons. Collections of these were also on view in the shape of ‘100’ in the entrance to the school. The PE department focused on sport and war, with Jacob Garrett and Sam Dunmore describing how sport transcends war referencing the Christmas Truce and their own Rugby tour anecdotes.
Students shared stories of how the Unknown Warrior story came to be, read letters from soldiers in WW2 and the Iraq war and read poems both old and new. A poignant moment was the story of Muriel Cundell, read by Elisia Spears, who described a local Harrogate woman linked to the bombing of the Majestic Hotel. The History department referenced their work in lessons looking at the ‘ripple effect’ of war on women, the injured, and the economy.
The Performing Arts faculty contributed a moving drama performance; two stunning duets from Phoebe Kyriakopoulos, Grace Brennan, Esther Fenwick and Benvy Edington, and an incredibly moving performance from the Senior Choir who sounded exceptional. The performances were interspersed with films of staff sharing ‘Who I Remember’ which included Mrs Bradbury and Mrs Scott sharing the story of their father who joined the army at 14, and Mr McKay telling the audience about his son who has served in Helmand Province.
As guests left after the last post the students were congratulated on the range of responses to the theme of the evening, and for creating such a personal and poignant evening.
The Senior Choir will also be performing in a joint Centenary Remembrance Concert on Sunday evening at Harrogate Grammar School, entitled ‘Lest We Forget’. They will be joined by young musicians from Tewit Youth Band and St Aidan’s Swing Band. Tickets are £8.00 for adults or £5.00 for Under 16s, including a glass of wine / soft drink, and are available from www.harrogatetwinning.org or on the door.