Music made them stay

Parham Primary Principal Anthony Hampson decided to have a mini-panorama at his school as a way of keeping children from scudding and disappearing to the beach in that time between the end of exams and the end of school. It worked. Each grade was well prepped and ready to represent by the time the actual event rolled around – July 4th. The prize, a cake, could have been gold or a trip to Disneyland for how excited they were, fired up as they were by the competition and hopefully by the music. They were playing nursery rhymes – Baabaa Black Sheep, Hickory Dickory Dock, This Old Man, Old McDonald had a farm, the Alphabet song – with the spunky young’uns from Grade 4 taking the cake. It almost doesn’t matter who won though. In fact, while the judges deliberated, the students lost themselves in a guest performance by Golden Sticks, a pan section from Hampson’s music academy Le Chateau d’Or, with cries of “another one!” until the emcee had to call a halt to the music so that we could get the results. The delay was long enough so that one parent who was running late was just in time for the results, though disappointed that she’d missed the performances. “They’re going to play again,” I whispered to her when it was revealed that her daughter’s class, Grade 4, was the winner. They did just that and she was able to catch a picture and the memory. So, between the children’s excitement, the pride of parents like her, and the organization of the event by the school, the outcome was secondary to the event and the flash of creative thinking that prompted the event. Kudos to all involved and to Mr. Hampson especially for his inventive approach to inspiring his students and keeping them at school. Now, if they could just get some quality pans as chief judge, a young pannist who already has multiple wins as composer and arranger at the national panorama to his credit, Khan Cordice recommended.

Is anybody listening?


Edited to add: I should mention that Khan’s recommendation was made to the zone’s education officer who earlier in the programme had said “music assists students in their academic development. …playing music helps you to learn.”

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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