Recent leaver and Band Captain, Jacob, talks about his time at Christ’s Hospital.
I have been at Christ’s Hospital since the Second Form (Year 7). From the outset, I was excited and didn’t feel homesick at all. I enjoyed my lessons and settled into the routine quickly.
I was quite short and shot up a little later than others, so sport wasn’t really my thing. However, I’ve loved playing hockey. The boys’ game is underrated and overshadowed by football, rugby and cricket, which is a shame as it’s a great sport that requires skill and stamina, and there’s camaraderie with the girls’ teams too. In terms of extra-curricular activities, it is music – not sport – that has shaped my time at the school.
I joined Big Band in the Third Form (Year 8) and played electric guitar, before taking up the trumpet in LE (Year 9), the same year I joined the Band. The Big Band concerts are special, as there’s a degree of professionalism. It’s a high-pressure performance, as there about 500 people in the audience. It only happens twice a year, so you look forward to it as a musician; everyone raises their game to maintain the high standard of performances. At Christmas I played a guitar solo of Europa by Carlos Santana and at the summer concert I played a jazz-inspired trumpet duet with my friend, Luke. One of my favourite memories was playing The Jazz Police at the concert back in 2017, as it had a great energy.
It was an honour to be Band Captain for a performance at the Tower of London. Beating Retreat is traditionally held once a year, to mark the end of the term, and is a final performance for the Grecians. This year, we were invited by the Tower Governor, Old Blue Andrew Jackson, to perform Beating Retreat a week earlier, for an exclusive audience in front of the Tower. We added several unique elements, marching in a Venn diagram formation in a reference to the Royal Mathematical School and also honouring the King’s coronation.
Outside of music, I have been a member of the Debating Society, which meets weekly to discuss different topics and occasionally hold more formal debates. Every year, the school hosts a Law Debate in the Dominions Theatre, with legal professionals invited to attend and offer advice and insights. CH invites speakers to talk about a wide range of issues. I remember one speaker expressing a view that most Olympians reach the pinnacle of their sport through natural talent, rather than other traits such as dedication and perseverance. The talks are always interesting, even though you may not always agree with the speaker.
What will I miss? I will miss marching into lunch with the Band. I will also miss the history and heritage of the school. I’ll miss wearing the uniform in London and feeling part of something exclusive and special. I will miss singing in Chapel too. The choir creates an incredible sound and the final service is a moving experience for the Grecians. That is when the emotional floodgates open and everyone lets it pour out during the final hymn. My personal favourite is How Shall I Sing That Majesty; that is often the one that makes people burst into tears. A lot of people enjoy singing Shine, Jesus, Shine, although it doesn’t make my shortlist!
I would like to study music at university, but first I am taking a gap year to travel to Australia. My intention is to go to Brisbane and perform choral music in the beautiful cathedral, while also working a little and enjoying the more leisurely pace of life!