Half Term, February 12th, saw the fourth Annual Final of the Rotary Recital. Presenting the prizes, President of The Rotary Club, Iain Farquharson Welsh recalled that the inauguration of the Cubs and Beavers coincided with the very first recital in 2013. The event involves every child in the school who chooses a poem, learns and then recites it before their peers in the early stages and now, for the finalists, in front of proud parents and the enthusiastic and attentive audience of the whole school.
Headteacher, Mrs Liz Holliday, resplendent in her Paul Harris award, welcomed us and introduced the judges: Chairman Rtn Chris Walbank (Foundation school governor), Rtn Colette Crossen (Special Needs consultant with wide experience of language development in Leeds schools), Rtn John Hafseth (a familiar face in the School; he runs the Lego Club and regularly hears the reading of Year 6 pupils); Canon Ann Nicholl (Foundation school governor and recently-retired School Chaplain) and The Vicar of Leeds Minster, Canon Sam Corley, who has already established himself as a strong friend and supporter of St Peter’s.
This was also a celebration of music from the school choir. They had beautifully performed ( yes, the adverb can precede the verb when emphasis is required as in Startreck’s “to boldly go’) at The Rotary Christmas lunch. Under the direction of John Robertson and accompanied by Dr Simon Lindley, their new repertoire showed their ability to vary mood and tone while retaining clarity of diction, particularly in the two songs ‘The Path to the Moon’ and ‘Twilight’. There was also some fine solo work in ‘I am a small Part of the World’ later in the concert.
Now it was the turn of the finalists from Keystage One and each pupil recited their poem twice. It was really very moving to see the confidence and sheer bravery of these young performers who had memorised and now recited their poem to the whole school. The youngest, Mercy Amanuel, is 4 years old and her first langage is Tigrinya. The winner, Naomi Paulos, is 5 and her first language is also Tigrinya. Her performance of ‘My Tooth’ showed a wonderful sense of humour and the confidence of a born performer.
At Keystage Two, as you would expect, the variety of poems is enormous and now the acting and interpretation is as important as the enormous feat of memory involved. Many high marks were justly awarded. The winning performance of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Pig’ is 48 lines long and hilariously amusing. Saba Medhane mastered the self-satisfied tone of the animal who, observing the role man has devised to use every part of the luckless porker decides to reverse the role: “I had a fairly powerful hunch / That he might have me for his lunch / And so, because I feared the worse, / I thought I’d better eat him first”. Sitting there in her elegant pink dress, Saba revealed wicked depths of ironic humour. She would enjoy Hilaire Belloc’s ‘Cautionary Tales’!
The judges conferred; the choir gave us some more wonderful music including a spirited rendition of ‘Non nobis, Domine’ and then it was time for the presentations by President Iain. First the awards for outstanding effort – two from each class; then certificates for all the finalists and a cup each for the winners: Naomi Paulos (aged 5, Reception Class) and Saba Medhane (aged 11, Class 6) whose names will be added the Rotary Recital Shield. Congratulations to our winners and all who took part. The School song ended the proceedings and, hands held high, we once again asserted our brotherhood and sisterhood and raised a prayer for justice, peace and friendship. As John Hafseth put it, as he dropped me off on the way home, “I always feel happy when I have been to St Peter’s”.
CJW Feb 2016