Clegwell School Song
Posted by Don Scott on October 6, 2019, 6:05 pm
I have just found the true origins of the song we used to sing in assembly each morning at Clegwell. There can be no doubt that George Kellet was no slouch when it came to the art of music. He was Honourary Musical Director of the Hebburn Operatic Society but the song he chose for us to sing was an adaption (in words and tune) of what was originally poetic verse taken from a book entitled 'All's Well' written by John Oxenham, published in 1915. That verse was subsequently used and put to a number of tunes that were adopted by institutions/schools as far apart as Barbados, Nigeria and Singapore. See below for a brief extract from a website which tells the story. |
"It could easily be assumed that this song was originally written for or within the school, given how its phrases and melodies seem woven into the very fabric of what it means to be Combermerian/Cawmerian. However, as stated in the above excerpt from Newton and Sandiford, the song is not original. In fact its origins are far away from the fields and halls of Waterford, where the school currently resides. The words were originally published in 1915 by John Oxenham (a writer’s pseudonym used by Manchester-born William Arthur Dunkerly) in an edition of his book ‘All’s Well — some helpful verse for these dark days of war. pg. 76', with the title ‘Up!-and On! — A School Song’. It is not evident if Oxenham wrote these words for a particular school, such as his alma mater in Trafford, his children’s school or with the expectation that it would be widely adopted by various institutions. It could be that he spotted a gap in the market for school songs, coinciding with wartime and the decline of British colonialisation. I wonder if he could have imagined the impact and possession of his words. Would he have been surprised, or even despaired, by the faces and voices of children belting out his words at a sporting event? The book and poetry collection, in which it appears, was written to support British boys going off to war and comfort their families during World War 1. It is said to have sold over 1 million copies by 1918. This could explain the popularity, survivability and global reach of these words."
If you wish to see the whole text and hear the slightly boisterous/hilarious version used in the Nigerian school (not the Clegwell tune) then type into your browser 'up and on of pluming wings and higher flight'