Head’s Weekly Letter – 23 November

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Dear Parents,

Every morning I walk from my house via a circuitous route through the Cathedral and the Cloisters into school. This gives me an opportunity to reflect on the day to come and keep God at the centre of everything that I do as your Headmaster. Our school community lives and works in such beautiful surroundings and the Cathedral is a constant in a fast changing world.

At lunchtime today I had the chance to see the Cathedral from a different perspective. I had the privilege of ascending the Cathedral tower clad in hard hat and florescent jacket to see the work that has taken place to replace the Victorian stonework that has decayed mostly through their use of iron in the balustrade. It was extraordinary to be able to see the work close up before the scaffold starts to come down at the beginning of December. I can report that even the journey up the tower in the vertical hoist was amazing and that I conquered my fear of heights! I will post some pictures onto Twitter for everyone to be able to see.

This morning we welcomed Canon Michael Hampel – Precentor, Vice Dean and Custos of The Chorister School, to our assembly. Canon Hampel recalled being Chaplain of The Chorister School when he was first in Durham some 20 years ago. It was good to introduce him to the children and staff; we look forward to working with him in the future.

BBC Children in Need
Last week we enthusiastically supported the Children in Need appeal. There has been a great deal of counting of small change following our activities and I am delighted to be able to report that together we have raised £1460.80. This is a quite staggering total and I thank everyone who has contributed to this magnificent effort.

Matches this week
We have had some excellent match reports this week with many victories being gained by the children who took part. Congratulations to everyone involved and my thanks to the Sports department for the dedication and planning that goes into these events – especially when the weather has been taking a turn for the worse.

Music Recital
Yesterday, sixteen children played in a music recital. The quality of their performance was very high and it was very clear that a great deal of dedicated practise had gone into their preparation. It was pleasing to see a large appreciative audience of family and friends supporting the children. Appropriately the concert took place on St Cecilia’s Day – the patron saint of music.

4th and 6th Form Workshops
The 4th and 6th Form workshops were very successful last Tuesday and it was fascinating to hear of the activities which explored body image and perceptions, self-esteem and teamwork. I am grateful to Mrs Wilkinson, Mrs Faulkner-Walford, Ms Stevenson and Mr Brown for leading these sessions.

Outreach Celebration
Durham Cathedral music outreach project works with ten primary schools each term which culminate in a Celebration Concert in the Cathedral. This term’s concert took place on Wednesday and it was a complete joy to see the 275 children from Sunderland singing with our Choristers. Their singing was wonderful and very uplifting. Thank you to all the Cantoris Choristers who took part and the music staff who made it all possible.

Chorister Experience – Saturday 24th November
Tomorrow nearly 40 children and their families will visit the school and the Cathedral to learn about the life of the Choristers and will get the chance to sing with them in Evensong. I know that there are several children from the 1st and 2nd Form coming tomorrow and I hope that they enjoy the day. If you have missed applying this term there will be a further two Chorister Experience Days this year; the next will be on Saturday 2nd March.

Commemoration of Founders and Benefactors – Sunday 25th November
This special service takes place this weekend on Sunday at 3.30pm. Our Head Pupils and Head Choristers play a prominent role in the service and I thank them for representing the school and the choir in this way. All are most welcome to attend this service.

School Christmas Concert
Our Christmas Concert takes place in Elvet Methodist Church on Thursday 6th December at 7.00pm. This will be an opportunity to hear the school ensembles and choirs. As I type there are several rehearsals going on and I can hear that we are going to be in for a treat. Tickets are now available from reception.

With very best wishes
Ian Wick

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