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Arts & Culture Newsletter – 11 February 2019

This promises to be a culturally rich term with the boys involved in a wide variety of activities.

The Debating Society has already participated in two league fixtures. I am delighted with the number of Grade 8 boys who have signed up for debating. The various skills they learn will stand them in good stead in the years to come.

Our rising operatic star, Nathan Julius (Falcon House 2016), performed a benefit concert in the Memorial Hall on Friday with Hilton College staff, boys and the Midlands Chamber Choir. Nathan is in the middle of his second year of Opera studies in Europe. The entire school was privileged to hear him perform a piece from his repertoire at the school assembly. This Monday Hilton hosted the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert is part of our strategy to expose our boys to as wide a range of musical, dramatic and artistic expression as possible.

The work of both past and present Visual Art pupils will be on display at the Tatham Art Gallery later this term and it is indeed an honour to be asked to participate in this exhibition.

Earlier in the week the senior drama boys were privileged to attend a workshop run by the famous South African actor and dramatist, Paul Slabolepsky. His works have graced the stage at a number of the Hilton Arts Festivals.

The cultural highlight of the term is obviously our production of the iconic musical West Side Story, which we are staging in association with St John’s DSG. The staging of this work deals poignantly with issues around immigration, xenophobia and young love and is incredibly relevant in our current time where prejudice and intolerance is being encouraged by demagogues. This year the production will run in the week leading up to the home Hilton/Michaelhouse fixture on Saturday 23 March, with the hope that many of our parents will attend the show on the Friday evening. Information may be found on the theatre website. Bookings will open after half-term and you may book online at The boys will attend with their Houses through the week.

I leave you with some of the thoughts I shared at the opening of the Hilton/St Anne’s Matric Art Exhibition last year. They highlight the life-giving importance of the Arts in our world.

Richard Rohr writes that God has given us art, music, sculpture, drama and literature as footpaths to lead us out of our hiding places and as sign posts to lead us along in our search for what we have lost. Our students have provided those sign posts, let us let them take us by our hands and follow where they lead. These students have, through their work, accepted the words of John O’ Donohue that the imagination retains a passion for freedom. They have understood that there are no rules for the imagination. That it never wants to stay trapped in expected territories, that the old maps will never satisfy it. They believe that their collective imaginations want them to press beyond the accepted frontiers and bring back reports of lands that no map worker has yet visited.

Paul Venter

Director of Art and Culture

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