Music has always been important to me and, over time, certain tunes have become fused with key moments in my life. Like many people, I have my own soundtrack. While driving along one day, not long after being appointed as Head of Brighton Girls, I turned on the radio and, before I realised what was happening, I found myself singing along to an 80s ‘classic’: ‘We Built This City’ by Starship.
The song quickly attached itself to this new phase of my life.
For those unfamiliar with Starship’s oeuvre, ‘We Built This City’ enjoyed some commercial success before becoming a regular on ‘worst song’ lists (in 2011 Rolling Stone magazine named it the worst song of the 80s). For me, however, thanks to that moment in the car, the song has become inextricably linked with Brighton Girls: the collective “we”; the city setting; the spirit of rock and roll; the irrepressible energy; the sheer chutzpa – all these elements are perfectly in tune with my thoughts about the school. On Thursday night, the connection was compounded further… as I watched the annual dance spectacular, ‘Momentum’.
What a show!
It was a delight to see dancers from all year groups, across the Prep and Senior schools, coming together to create something magical. This was another incredible Brighton Girls team effort involving pupils, parents, teachers, support staff, and alumnae, all hosted in The Old Market, a superb venue in the heart of the city. As I said on Thursday night, I was pleased to see so many members of staff (and former staff) in the audience. This says a lot about the community here, and is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. I asked a couple of colleagues why they felt it was important for them to be at the show, and the answer was simple: it hadn’t occurred to them not to be there; they are part of the team.
Last week, Ms Szkolar sent out an all-staff email with the subject line “Momentum Mayhem”. In it, she detailed the complicated logistical arrangements needed to put on three shows over two days: cover lessons, curriculum changes, costume fittings. Events like this are disruptive – in a good way – and this creative disruption is very much in keeping with the spirit of the school. Let’s not forget that, as a founding school of The Girls’ Day School Trust, Brighton Girls was born of rebellion. It is thanks to the early pioneers in girls’ education, and their disruptive sprit, that the school exists today. Grey, Gurney, Lyttelton and Stanley built this school on rock and roll and they would be proud of what they see today.
I wish to thank all the people who revelled in the mayhem and made ‘Momentum’ happen and, most importantly, I want to thank the performers who danced with confidence, sensitivity and such infectious energy.
There is a line in the song:
“We just want to dance here, but someone stole our stage”.
Not this time. The girls owned it.