It’s been a while, friends, but this RHS pupil has finally heard some more gossip… some say there is an evil plot. A plot to remove a foundation of RHS… the Holbrook Sound!
It’s true! This RHS pupil over heard the Chaplain and Mr Dixon scheming to replace all the hymn books, which hold our favourites, such as ‘Jerusalem’, ‘Praise To The Holiest’ and ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’, with contemporary worship songs to drive the School forward into the 21st century. Now, although I’m Mr Dixon loves a little bit of Beyoncé, surely replacing ‘Angel Voices’ with ‘Who Run The World’ would be sacrilege! What’s next, ditching the organ for an accordion? Replacing the choir with Michael Bublé in time for Christmas? But there is a hero to this tale… Mr Allen! Mr Allen knew he could not let this happen, so he created a plan of his own.
No one loves a bit of scandal more than Mr Allen, so it is no surprise he uncovered this malevolent plot. He was simply collecting music left in the choir stalls following the Remembrance chapel service, when he overheard Mr Dixon and Dr McConnell scheming over a glass of church wine (low percentage – we are at school after all). This caused Mr Allen to drift over slightly towards the Lady Chapel so he could hear more clearly.
“I am so sick of hearing these out of tune pupils sing. Maybe we should try more modern songs, that have fewer words and notes, and they tend to be shorter”, said Mr Dixon.
“I agree. And if we change the music, we can get paper hymn books so that no one slams them!”, replied the Chaplain.
“Goodbye, Holbrook Sound and goodbye to the St V Lean!”
“Hello, longer sermons!”
The two then laughed maniacally, as Mr Allen gasped in horror. Rev McConnell and Mr Dixon looked to see what the noise was, but thankfully, being vertically challenged, Mr Allen was short enough to hide under a pew. Mr Allen then gathered the whole music department to discuss a plan to save the hymns we love to sing. The music department were at the music school all night, munching on their crisp and chocolate stash, trying to find the perfect emergency plan. Mr Allen finally narrowed it down to 3 simple steps.
The first stage of Mr Allen’s plan was to change the order on the new hymn books. Mr Allen got Mrs Griffiths to use her speedy typing skills (which she gained from creating all the music lesson timetables) to hack into the Chaplain’s computer- granted she needed some help from IT legend Mr White, but that’s not the point. To delay the Chaplain from returning, Mr Allen got the herd of VMTs (visiting music teachers) to block the corridor. Mrs Griffiths and Mr Allen then decided to change the design of the new hymn books to make them unusable and as heavy (and therefore loud) as possible to create a huge bang before the Benediction.
Having changed the new hymn books from normal paper ones to bright pink sparkly blocks of steel, in order to be as distracting and loud as possible, Phase 2 was set in motion. For those of you who did not know, the School is John Rutter’s biggest fan (he is the Patron of Music and officially opened the Music School in December 2008); a little inside info about this RHS student, I’m in choir and, my goodness, I’d be rich if I had a pound for every time we sang a Rutter song. Therefore, in Mr Allen’s genius, he got Rutter to write a formal complaint to the School. Mr Allen told Rutter to channel as much passive aggressiveness as possible – he gave him some tips, as Mr Allen has had lots of practise from all the ‘Where were you?’ emails he sends out to pupils when they miss a rehearsal! Mr Rutter then spread the word of this potential disaster, causing the Holbrook Choral Society and even Mr Crompton (former RHS Director of Music for over 30 years) to start an uproar, putting pressure on Mr Dixon and the Chaplain.
The next stage of Mr Allen’s plan was possibly the most evil. Mr Allen cancelled all choir practices just to perfect this! Rehearsals happened all night and all day, until finally they were ready. When I say ‘they’, I mean the most terrifying, disastrous, chaotic A-team you could ever think of… Year 13 singing! Every morning, at 6am Mr Allen sent all the Nelson pupils to sing Mr Dixon’s favourite hymn at his window… the one the only ‘Shine, Jesus, Shine’! The decibel level could burst someone’s eardrum. The pitching was not there but the spirit, the spirit was blazing. This protest was aimed to drive Mr Dixon to some sense and bring back the Holbrook Sound, but unfortunately Mr Allen forgot about a small thing called ear plugs.
Despite his best efforts, Mr Allen’s plan had not worked and, defeated, he went to apologise to the Chaplain and the Second Master until he heard a familiar angelic voice… Beyoncé. Peering through the keyhole of Mr Dixon’s office door Mr Allen caught a glimpse of the two conspirators absolutely smashing Just Dance! Thus, Step 4 of the master plan was created.
Mr Allen got dressed into his concert blacks for the spy moment he’d always wanted. He crawled down the Science corridor, rolled past the Assembly Hall and snuck into Mr Dixon’s office, with the band (unsubtly) playing the Mission Impossible theme song behind him (he felt he needed some atmosphere). Mr Allen set up his position in the second master’s office, as he had asked Mrs Bleasby (Mr Dixon’s PA) when the next Just Dance was scheduled to be; all he had to do was flatter her with a One Kind Word postcard. Right on time, The Rev. and Mr Dixon went into the office and started dancing and singing to ‘All The Single Ladies’. Mr Allen then appeared before them, iPhone camera in hand, and said, “Ahah! I’ve got you, and if you don’t bring back the Holbrook Sound and hymns like ‘O Trinity’ I will put this on all the monitors in school’. Mr Dixon and Dr McConnell had no choice and so agreed.
Victory! Mr Allen and the music staff celebrated all night, consuming all the Green and Black’s chocolate from notes and nibbles and enjoying some hymn karaoke. Even Mr Dixon and Rev McConnell joined in, realising that modernising the hymns was, in fact, a bad idea.
Truly, ‘Glory, glory, hallelujah!’
On this happy note (appreciate that music pun), see you next time on RHShhh!