Deputy Head’s Message – Young Voices 2020

Senior School
7 Feb 20

“On Thursday evening, Senior Choir performed at the Young Voices 2020 concert at The O2, in London. We joined over 8,000 other children from across the South East region to sing a whole range of songs, ranging from 1950’s musical numbers through to the present day. This was interspersed with dancing and performances from Ruti, who won The Voice in 2018, having once taken part in a Young Voices concert herself. Also performing were The Shires and Tony Hadley, whose presence created some excitement amongst members of the audience who were of a certain age!

As I was sitting with the children, who were singing and dancing their hearts out, I was able to reflect that their journey to this final, polished performance began not in the rehearsals earlier in the afternoon, but back in September when the challenge to learn all of the songs for this concert was first laid down. A two-hour concert does not just fall together by chance. The children have had to put in hours of work, both in and out of School. Those who get the most out of such an experience are, more often than not, the ones who are prepared to spend the time practising on their own, making mistakes with the words and correcting themselves, perfecting dance routines in front of a mirror and probably, at times, becoming a bit fed up with the whole process but keeping going nevertheless.

Real success, with anything, takes work. This could be with maths, reading, drawing, on the sports field or any other of the myriad opportunities that the children are given at SVPS. Delayed gratification is the key to all of this. We do not see our best work at the first attempt. New skills must be practised and honed if they are to develop and improve which takes time. It also requires a level of tenacity and a long view that the work put in now will pay off at some point in the future.

Unfortunately, in today’s culture, so much is instant. In what the children refer to as “The Olden Days”, we had to communicate by post to friends who lived far away, and had to save up tokens from cereal packets to send off for a toy. These days, of course we are much more likely to send a WhatsApp or scan a QR code. A direct consequence of this instant culture is that the art of waiting is something that our children struggle with often.

We have spent time this half term talking to the children about bravery and tenacity, their ability to try something new and have the courage to keep going with it, despite the difficulties that they may face along the way. We certainly had to practise the great British art of queuing when trying to leave The O2, which proved a real test of patience, but, perhaps, this was also a valuable experience for the children in itself!

In any event, the concert was a great success, the hard work paid off and it is likely to be an experience that the children cherish for a great many years to come!”

Mr Watkins Deputy Head