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10:20am on Thursday, 11th June, 2009:

Year 10 Awards


It was the Year 10 awards ceremony at my younger daughter's school yesterday evening, so I went along to applaud.

At an hour in length, it wasn't quite as painful as previous ceremonies (and I mean that literally — the seats they make you sit on do not appear to have been designed with comfort in mind). The 6-girl dance class performed a Modern Dance piece of mercifully short duration, and the guitarist (who had won a bass guitar in a competition forbeing "most improved" — she'd gone from grade 1 to grade 3 (out of 8)) also played her part: she stopped half way through the interminably long guitar-karaoke song she was strumming along to, causing the audience to believe she'd succumbed to stage fright; she got the biggest applause of the night as she walked back to her chair, hiding her face in embarrassment. Neither she nor the dancers will be appearing on Britain's Got Talent any time soon, though...

Next came the awards. There were some strange ones. One boy won "Outstanding Performance in Alternative Education" — uh? Is that some kind of GCSE? Another won one for "Outstanding Performance in ASDAN", an acronym that was never explained and doesn't appear to be explained on the ASDAN web site either. Even Wikipedia hasn't heard of it. Finally, two boys won "Outstanding Performance in Accredited Curriculum Enrichment", whatever that is. I'm sure they're pleased, anyway.

Finally, we had an address by the special guest, Nigel Hildreth. Mr Hildreth is Head of Music at the Sixth Form College, and his claim to fame is that he was the music teacher of two members of the 1990s Britpop band, Blur. Interestingly, in his talk he managed to repeat this claim to fame while explaining how he didn't want to claim fame from it, which seems a bit of a contradiction in terms but at least he managed to get another Colchester band on TV in the lead-up to the Blur reunion, so at least he's spending his fame on others.

However, because he's a music teacher, he wanted to teach us music. The basic premise was to show that by co-operating, great things can happen. He had one half of the group of children present clap one rhythm, the other group clap another rhythm, and the audience clap a third. He had little phrases to help remember what to clap (ours was "tea, tea, I'd rather have a lemonade"). He then got everyone to clap together and the result was ... well, one typographical error away from "clap".

Needless to say, this great display of co-operation was almost universally adhered to. As far as I could tell, there were only two people present among the 200 or so in the room who didn't join in with the clapfest. One was a student in a wheelchair, and the other was me. I think the woman pushing around the oxygen tank might have given up halfway through, too.

Strangely resistant to peer-pressure, that's me...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).