Music Weekends   -   Chris Snuggs (Berners/Halls 58-65)

The first of these was in Autumn 1960, so it was clearly Merlin Channon who started them off with Miss "Daisy" Hill of IHS and for-the-moment unknown teachers at Northgate School - and obviously with the accord of Mr. Bailey. They were a wonderful initiative; on the one hand they gave musicians a chance to play in a different environnment with different participants and on the other they fostered collaboration and good relations with local schools.

A bonus of course was the chance for us to have some contact with girls - though 99% only visual and verbal I am sure! (We were pretty tightly supervised as far as I recall.) Nonetheless, even such limited contact was exceedingly rare, so we were glad even of that.

I was not really what one would call a musician, and I found that the girls from IHS and Northgate were far better than me on the occasion that I played at Northgate. I was given a clarinet score to play and managed I think to play every third note or so more or less in time. Still, it was a memorable experience.

Of course, Mr Bullard took us safely there and back as usual. Happy days!


WHS' fourth, last and long-standing Music Master Barry Salmon passed away on 12th November, 2022, and I am quite certain that anyone who ever knew him will feel a profound sense of loss. "Nobody's perfect." is a favourite (and oft-used!) expression of mine when I err in some way - but I struggle to think of any way in which Barry could have done his job better or better represented the Human Race. He was empathetic, patient, inclusive, inspirational, devoted to his calling, respectful and always encouraging. For me and many others I am sure he was a role-model, and one of those masters who inspired me to go into the teaching profession. If I did only 10% as well as he then I can die happy.

Here are a few reminiscences, and others can be found here. New in the archives is the reference to the "Musical Weekends" which I believe Merlin Channon started and Barry of course continued. Over the years we had some fabulous cooperation with IHS, with many memories still fresh in the mind - and not only relating to music!

Rosemary Koch-Osborne (née Peacock): So sad. First met him when I was at Northgate in the 1960s and he organised music weekends for the Ipswich schools. A privilege to meet him again when I was HM's secretary at Woolverstone in the 1970s. My condolences to the family.

Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 1958-1965: I also took part at Northgate School in at least two of those musical weekends around that time, Rosemary. Perhaps we even played in the same orchestra! That was a wonderful and memorable initiative, but typical of his ambition to give us different musical experiences.

Rosemary Koch-Osborne: How strange! We might well have done. What instrument did you play? I was at Northgate 1959-66 and was leader of the Girls School orchestra but I was also given special permission to play in the Boys School orchestra, which was of a higher standard . . . and raised my "street cred" considerably! Barry persuaded me to join the Woolverstone school orchestra when I worked there, so that was good fun as well.

Chris Snuggs: What a lovely connection to "un temps perdu". It must have been 1963 or 1964 that I was at Northgate School for "a musical weekend", but I don't recall us being given much opportunity to socialise! Sorry we didn't meet up - obviously my loss! I played the clarinet - sort of. I remember with some shame and chragrin settling into my seat in the woodwind section somewhere in the school surrounded by girls, being given my score and realising it was way beyond my competence! The demoiselles played with brio and flair while I strove to play at least every third note in time. Barry pretended not to notice! If I manage to perfect the time-machine I am working on I hope to go back and do better!

How nice that you later played in the WHS orchestra. Barry (and Merlin Channon before him) was always keen to enhance the school orchestra with outside players and to cooperate on productions with other schools, which was immensely enriching for the WHS fraternity - but typical of him.

The Music Weekends