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The story behind the classroom

Following last month's "Then & Now" feature  of what is the current Art Room, we offer grateful thanks to former teacher, Mr John Trethewey aka Mr-T, who recalls it being the old music room.  See his evidence in the photo below and enjoy reading some of his shared memoirs


Mr Trethewey states that the photo must have been taken after 1984 following sales of the first CDs appearing in Switzerland.  Music teacher, Miss Sandra Allan was given a  budget to buy a high quality HiFi system to play CDs, cassettes and vinyl LPs plus a powerful amplifier and large loudspeakers to be permanently placed in the Hall. She was also to buy a stock of CDs of classical music.

The main retail and technical service company in Switzerland was Mafioly.  At the time, their shops could be found in many towns and its main HQ for retail and repair service was in Clarens, in what is now the CIC medical centre building.

Mafioly had a wide range of HiFi, TVs and CDs, including a room dedicated to exposing the best of each, with a salesman to show them playing.  Mr T and Miss Allen spent time there listening, discussing and shopping for the school's new modern equipment.

At that time, Mr. T was Mr. Technology for all things to do with sound and lighting for drama, computer purchases, installations and anything involving electricity. He even came down to school twice a year after 9.00 p.m. on the weekends when the clocks “went forward/back”, to change the one in the Lounge and the electronic one in the office which sounded all the “Bing-Bongs”, significantly the one for waking boarders next morning, Sunday.

The Music Room, where lessons were given, was a small classroom. The subject was only taught to Years 7, 8 and 9, and until the arrival of Boys in 1993, the number of pupils in any one group was small.  The room was reached via the music store room, a dark dusty den where a huge kettle drum was housed, along with a selection of instruments (cello, violin, flute, clarinet) to be loaned to the occasional musical pupil. There was even a built-in, ornately carved, solid wooden bench along one wall.

In the school hall, a solid shelf was installed either side of the stage, on which the huge speakers were mounted.  The output of which, in massive watts, now played the largest ensembles of orchestra and choir to perfection. What they could not do, was play disco music as per the modern Pro-Disco Sound.
In the Autumn of 1991, the start of Mr. Alan Locke’s final year as Principal, the tiny school orchestra of 7 instrumentalists, including Mr. T and Maria Iida as violinists, performed a scratchy-squeaky, out of tune accompaniment to the morning Hymn in School Assembly on Thursdays.

Every year, starting in 1986, at the end of the Summer Term, when the cleaners were polishing the floors of the corridors in preparation for the Summer Camp, Mr. T would once again creep into school after 21h, disconnect all the cables between the amplifier and the speakers, and then, risking several slipped discs, heave the Gigowatt Behemoths from their high shelf, carry them out to the car park and place them in the boot of his car. Once home, he would install them in his living room for the long Summer Holidays. Not only with the full blessing of Miss Allan, but actually at her express behest.

Another task for him, along with the speakers, would involve the emptying of two aquarium size fish tanks, plus their lamps and heaters, having first saved the fish in plastic bags full of water, and heave them into his car – fish as well – and duly refill them and add the fish, in his living room.

Warm thanks to Mr. T for his recollections