From The Headmaster's Study
13 December 2021
Yuletide’s approach never fails to create a palpable sense of anticipation and excitement here at Hampton. With suitably festive performances from our musicians during last week’s concerts and yesterday’s online Festival of Carols, lights twinkling in the trees along the main driveway, and the evocative aroma of a 20-foot Blue Spruce tree in our Reception area, it’s beginning to look a lot like …!
It has been uplifting to see School life returning to something closer to normal (whatever this now means) week-by-week since September. Our Football and Rugby squads have played full fixture lists; our rowers have resumed competition on the water; our musicians and dramatists have returned to the Hammond Theatre stage. We have also been delighted to welcome on-site audiences for concerts and performances, with those attending our latest Drama Department production – A Midwinter’s Nightmare – being asked to interact with the cast throughout!
There is plenty to enjoy in the latest edition of News from Hampton (NfH) – from a report on the superb joint Hampton-LEH musical, Guys and Dolls, to our First Years’ exploits on their Avon Tyrrell residential trip. A digital copy of NfH was sent out via email earlier this week and it can also can be accessed within this e-newsletter, along with a selection of recent School news stories.
Close to 500 fixtures were played this term across 11 different Hampton sports, and many of our squads have progressed to the latter stages of regional and national competitions. My heart rate has just about recovered from last week’s compelling Boodles ISFA Cup quarter-final match with Repton School, which saw our First XI overturn a two-goal deficit at the interval to win 3-2 after extra time. A few days earlier, it was gratifying to see our Boat Club overcome pandemic-related logistical challenges and host the Hampton Small Boats Head so successfully. Over 1,000 young athletes from across the country raced the 3km course and several Hampton oarsmen were among the medallists.
Happily, we have been able to run an almost uninterrupted autumn term programme of lunchtime co-curricular clubs and societies. Among the most impressive of these is our Genocide Awareness campaign group Genocide80Twenty, which for many years has been an important part of Hampton life under Mr Lawrence’s aegis. Recently, our young activists have teamed up with pupils from nine partner schools to organise a Genocide Prevention Week. As the accompanying e-newsletter story shows, global figures have rallied to support our pupils’ inspirational efforts. They are certainly being the change they want to see in the world and making a real difference.
US novelist and essayist William H Gass observed that ‘true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words’ and this has been the case for boys attending The Writers’ Room since its inception in November. Generously supported by the HSPA, the venue that used to be prosaically known as Room 53 has been decorated and furnished to provide a perfect setting for the creativity of budding Hamptonian writers to thrive.
Heartfelt thanks are due to all those involved in last week’s Christmas Concerts – a great deal of effort and Covid-aware planning resulted in two splendid evenings that showcased the vibrancy, variety and excellence of Hampton Music. We are grateful to Mr Roland and his department colleagues, our events team, and pupil performers of all ages, for providing us with so much wonderful music this term. Indeed, some of them contributed to the soundtrack of our Christmas video message (linked here), which is guaranteed to raise a smile and features memorable cameo appearances from boys and colleagues alike.
In closing, it feels appropriate to reference current national Covid-related developments. Our plans for the start of the spring term will of course remain under regular review over the holiday period; we shall let you know in early January if we receive updates from the Department for Education that may affect our arrangements.
I wish all members of our School community a very happy, peaceful and relaxing festive break.
With kind regards and best wishes