As we approach the end of our quatercentenary year of commemoration and celebration, I am delighted to share with you a short film that endeavours to capture the spirit of 2019. The engraving, The Light by Emilio Nunzi (Year 11), has been inspired by the wood-engravings of Thomas Sturge Moore OA and by Emilio’s work with Anne Desmet RA over the course of her Dulwich College residency.
For more photographs and films from this year, please visit our gallery.
Since I last wrote, our anniversary programme included the Phoenix and Unicorn exhibition, In Conversation with Anne Desmet RA, and the final lecture in the GE Moore Lecture series. Each explored the work of alumnus Thomas Sturge Moore (1870-1944), wood-engraver, poet, playwright, designer, and writer on art and aesthetics. We also celebrated the commissioned stained glass window in the Lower Hall, which was designed and made by Helen Whittaker. Our focus was to put boys at the centre of these creative ventures with pupils making their own wood-engravings in workshops with Anne Desmet which were shown as part of the Phoenix and Unicorn exhibition. Pupils also created their own stained glass ‘roundels’ in workshops with Helen Whittaker and these were exhibited alongside her work.
For the highly anticipated Bachfest 2019 on 1 October, Thomas Trotter, one of the world’s leading concert organists and an authority on the music of JS Bach, was the special guest for the day, which began in Christ’s Chapel with a masterclass. Students from the Foundation Schools, friends and guests listened to Thomas demonstrate and talk about the organ and Bach’s music. This was followed by an organ recital, and the day concluded with the 19th Thwaites Bach Competition.
Saturday 16 October saw an historic day of rugby here at the College when, as part of our 400th anniversary celebrations, we hosted all 18 matches with Bedford School, one of our oldest rugby fixtures. During this 157th meeting of Dulwich and Bedford’s 1st XVs, just over 800 boys played rugby on the College grounds throughout the day, culminating in the 1st XV game with a huge crowd staying on in the rain to witness Dulwich’s win. View Photographs and films.
The drama pupils of Dulwich and JAGS joined forces during the Michaelmas term to stage two dazzling, sell-out shows – Macbeth here at the College and Legally Blonde at JAGS.
And following School Service Day in June, this year’s Community Action programme is full of great enthusiasm and energy – 262 boys and 47 staff volunteer every week across 19 different community projects, underpinning our ethos of Service.
To draw the year to a close we came together on Friday at Southwark Cathedral for our annual Carols by Candlelight Service, a very special occasion at which we are able to reflect on the year and all it has bestowed on us. We heard the Chapel Choir perform the world premiere performance of Puer Pacis, the Dulwich Peace Carol commissioned from the composer Nico Muhly, who generously agreed that his fee be donated to the Dulwich College Bursary Appeal Fund.
May I take this opportunity to thank our remarkable Dulwich community for the parts they have played, whether as skilled organisers, enthusiastic participants or generous benefactors (and in many cases, all three); it would not have happened without you.
Wishing you and your family a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.
Dr Joe Spence