Wolves in onesies lead the way

Dunnanie’s Christmas play, Babushka, launched the festive musical season on Wednesday; music (arranged by Ben Harlan), direction and choreography by Sharon Rose and massive support from Dunnanie parents with costumes and scenery were all critical in the show’s success, but above all it was the various performances of the children in the dances that stole the show – Year 1’s Russian children dance, Year 2’s dance of dolls and Reception’s wolf cubs – little wolves, cosily attired in wolverine onesies, did a lot of frightening of all of us. Wednesday evening and it is the annual Bedales Cecilia Concert, with an enticing range, from Shostakovich  (Jazz), through to  CPE Bach’s fiendishly difficult Magnificat (with its “unparalleled peroraration” of 182 bars on the single, concluding word, Amen), via Mozart (Divertimento K.138, composed when he was 15) and some Bedales Barbershop Boys’ (Steal Away and Gathering up the Roses). Thursday evening and the musical impulse is still reverberating across the Estate; early evening and it’s one of the Dunhurst Christmas Platform concerts – tonight it’s Brass, Wind and Pianos and there are 35+ performers: from people who have just started through to experienced folk, it’s a grand medley – individuals and small groups performing and enjoying it. Wonderful to see music gripping so many Dunhurstians and so many parents there in support. For me, the day finishes as I join the 6.2s for their annual Christmas pudding bake: standing  over a very large pile of Christmas pudding mixture in the Bedales bakery with an unusually melodic rendering of The 12 Days of Christmas, I do some dolloping of the mixture into bowls – the sort of relatively low-skilled but mushy manual job I enjoy. In the next door room there is more precise work going on – tying of bowls and wrapping. Outside, round the fire, the previous shift are eating marshmallows and singing, not quite as melodiously as we stirrers and dollopers. Our guests from Dubai College have arrived with their play – some have not been outside Dubai before. This is their first taste of European Civilisation.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools

Dunannie's performance of Babushka


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.