To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, the evening of Friday November 9th saw Millfield School’s collaborative arts event Greater Love with offerings from across the entire school. Through the direction of Mrs Kirsty Barry, her BTEC Music class and many other students and members of staff, this commemoration through music, drama, art, dance, spoken word and media, of the courageous acts and ultimate sacrifice of all those who died during that dreadful conflict was sure to bring a tear to many an eye.
Before the audience entered the performance space, they were greeted in the Johnson Hall Foyer, by works of art produced by students from Millfield’s Art Department. These sensitive portrayals depicted both: the hauntingly bleak wartime landscapes soldiers would have found themselves inhabiting; and the somewhat removed and pompous figures of Armed Forces commanders.
To begin the evening’s proceedings, a poignant new commission composed by Kim Hughes & Luca Lattanzi and arranged by Oska Zaky inspired by The Last Post and a letter by Richard Berstein (OM 2014) was performed gracefully by dancers Elenice Andrews, Izzie Spencer-Shellard, Alice Kramer, Ellie Guthrie, Sophie Holmes, Talia Mosey, Orr Ewing and Amelia Rennie – choreography by Mrs Gemma Gubb. Students from the Language, Drama and Music departments joined together at the close of the first half to share a depiction of the Christmas Day Football match – as the soldiers from both sides of the Second World War did all those years before. During this performance, short excerpts of spoken word in several languages provided a glimpse into the mind of the soldiers of the conflict, culminating in the students coming together with Camerata to sing Silent Night in English, French and German lead by Harvey Morland and Sebastian Berkeley.
During the second half we heard a moving message from our school chaplain Reverend Harbridge who drew on the words ‘Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends’, from John 15.1-13. The message focussed on moulding our Remembrance to fit in with our 21st Century life – How can we remember if we weren’t there in the first place? This was followed by a dance performance Requiem choreographed by Mrs Juliet Peach, performed by dancers Elenice Andrews, Izzie Spencer-Shellard, Alice Kramer, Ellie Guthrie, Sophie Holmes, Talia Mosey, Orr Ewing and Amelia Rennie and accompanied by the voices of male voice choir Scholar Cantorum. Closing the event was the song We Will Remember Them written by Alexander & Joanna L’Estrange and performed sublimely by Junior Voices directed by Mrs Kirsty Barry and accompanied by Director of Music Mr Matthew Cook.