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History in the making


Good morning and I know that the cast and crew of ‘Phantom’ will be sitting here feeling very tired and weary today.  However, I know that you will consider it worth every minute of the time and effort you put in to making the show such a resounding success.  So, without further ado, can I ask the cast and crew to stand so that we can congratulate you on your achievements?

To stage ‘Phantom of the Opera’ at Kent College has been a long term ambition of Mr Ashton.  It was an extremely challenging project, not least because of the enormity of the staging and theatrical demands placed on the performers.  It is testament to Mr Ashton’s vision that our theatre was transformed into a breath-taking opera house, complete with boxes and a glorious chandelier.  But it was all of you in the cast and crew who turned an ambition and vision into reality.  And what a stunning piece of musical theatre it was!  There were hours of music rehearsals with Mr Kent-Davies, Mrs Bruce and Mrs Pusey and the dramatically demanding roles were brought to life under the direction of both Mr Ashton and Mrs Cable. 

I have just used three words that I would like us to take a moment to consider this morning and they are – Ambition, Vision and Reality - all ingredients to achieving success in any field.  Ambition is defined in the dictionary as a strong desire for success or distinction.  In other words you have to start by wanting to achieve at a high level.  You could have ambition all your life but a ‘strong desire’ for success will not necessarily make anything happen.  Next, you need to have a ‘vision’ that the dictionary says is a vivid mental image seen in the imagination.   So you need to know what your ambition will look like – what is it exactly that you want to achieve?  It could be anything of any size or scale.  It could be getting your Gold DofE before you leave school, or visiting 4 continents of the world in a gap year. Still, that is not quite enough to make your ambition happen.  The hardest part is turning your ambition and vision into a reality and the reality is defined as the journey.  For Phantom the journey started here in the Sports Hall last summer when Mr Ashton shared his ambition to put on Phantom and he described his vision for what the production would look and feel like here at Kent College.  Making that vision a reality started with the auditions, then onto the rehearsals culminating in last week’s run of 7 performances.  

I count myself fortunate to have been a small part of Phantom as I joined some of the rehearsals and took part in the cabaret performance on Saturday night.  After the show, Mr Pears and I joined members of the cast to perform a short concert of a few of the well-known songs from the show.  It was something that I too have been preparing for over the last few months and despite my considerable nerves, I enjoyed every moment of being back on the stage. 

Events such as Phantom are important as they become part of our history - they are what we remember collectively as a school and what will become defining moments for you as individuals.  Those of you in the cast will look back in years to come and the memories will be as clear in 5, 10 and 50 years as they were last week.  Who would not want their life to be filled with such wonderful memories and the sense of achievement of the obstacles that we overcame to get there.  So whilst not all of you were involved in Phantom, what are you going to put yourself forward to do that will become a significant part of your school history?  It really doesn’t matter what it is as long as there is something there for you to aim for. 

So, three questions for you this week:

  1. What ambition do you have?
  2. What is your vision for it?
  3. How are you going to make it a reality?

Our prayer this morning is in the shape of an extract from a Quaker text:

I believe in the powers of ordinary men and women in their immense potentialities; in their capacity to rise higher than themselves; in their essential creativeness in them as artists.  I do not believe in the ‘chosen few’: I believe in us all. 

I believe in work. I believe in play. On the whole I see no distinction.  Let us not be afraid of work!  Play – games – poetry – music – movement – all the Arts, are unnecessary yet absolutely essential.  They make possible the impossible and reconcile the irreconcilable.

I believe in the absolute necessity for the arts.  Man cannot live by bread alone.

Robert Tanner

Posted: 05/02/2018 at 11:57
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