Old School proudly announces three evenings of music, prose and poetry
spanning the first half of the 20th century
events of war and empire, recurring seasonal phenomena, and the eternal
expressions of love, friendship and passion – all of life is observed
and often seen through the eyes and ears of the “little man”,
simply trying to survive the tidal wave of global forces and aspiring
to human love and happiness.
retrospective view of life, of who and what we are, presents a rare opportunity
to savour our heritage, to laugh at the comic and shed a tear at the tragic
acts which make us both human and British. Quite simply three evenings
not to be missed!
18 July Supper Concert 1
1900 to 1918
The century opens with the Empire at its height and the Relief of Mafeking,
Land of Hope & Glory by Elgar and The road to Mandelay. Aviation is
all the rage, as is Ragtime with Scott Joplin’s great The Entertainer.
Sherlock Holmes appears on the scene. The innocence of children is idolised
in the creation of Peter Rabbit, Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan and
the song Two little boys. Romantic love and broken hearts were the subjects
of countless thousands of popular songs such as Love’s old sweet
song and Love, here is my heart.
outbreak of The Great War in 1914 produced many songs sung by the troops
to keep their spirits up, such as It’s a long way to Tipperary;
love songs like Roses of Picardy became more poignant for home as the
war lengthened; and Ivor Novello’s patriotism gave birth to Keep
the home fires burning. Letters to home from the trenches speak of food
parcels and mundane things. Finally, when it was all over, those who were
left had to pick up the pieces of their lives but the age of optimism
and innocence has passed and the new, more cynical age of the 20s was
25 July Supper Concert II
1920’s and 30’s
The age of the great musical dawns with Showboat and Porgy & Bess.
Winnie the Pooh makes his first appearance; and the forever sunny, one
dimensional world of Bertie Wooster is reflected in Noel Coward’s
witty & sophisticated songs such as Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Gracie
Fields, becomes a great film star & has major hits with Sally and
Sing as we go.
sunny mood changes with The Wall Street Crash, the start of the Great
Depression and the rise of the Nazis. Love is still very much in the air,
thanks to Cole Porter, several of whose songs we shall hear, and Edward
VIII gives up his crown for it. 1939 sees the start of World War II but
also the Wizard of Oz and Over the rainbow.
1 August Supper Concert III
June 1940 Winston Churchill: “This was their finest hour.”
Food rationing – Potato Pete & Doctor Carrot. Myra Hess inspires
Londoners with her concerts of classical music at The National Gallery.
Acute awareness of how life may be cut short fuels passions, marriages
take place with amazing speed and some truly great love songs are written:
As time goes by and We’ll gather lilacs reflect this longing for
a future together. May 8 1945 is VE Day.
the dropping of the Atom Bombs in Japan sees the end of the War, there
are other difficulties to contend with: the Iron Curtain begins to descend,
the great freeze of 1947 sets in, the people of Berlin are besieged and
have to be supplied by air, and there is continuing food rationing at
home. However, alongside these difficulties, some marvellous popular music
is being created by Cole Porter, Ivor Novello and Richard Rodgers. We
celebrate with songs from Carousel, Kiss me Kate, King’s Rhapsody
and, finally, that great optimistic, bouncing show Oklahoma .