By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools
Congratulations to PPE student, Juliette Perry (Dunhurst and Bedales, 2008-15): she has been selected to row for Oxford University against Cambridge in the Women’s Boat Race on 24 March. See here for the details of the crew and here for an article on the admirable diversity project that the two universities are championing. An interesting footnote here is that, unlike (I surmise) most of the other women in these two eights, Juliette did not row here at Bedales: she has gone from a standing start to this amazing achievement with extraordinary speed, clearly with a good basis for natural athleticism, and has developed her craft as a rower so quickly and so well.
Here is another example in a different discipline, coincidentally also at Somerville College, Oxford. Disproving the orthodox view that musicians must start when tiny, Josh Grubb (Bedales 2010-14) started playing the clarinet aged 14 when he started at Bedales in Block 4. Now in his third year reading Biochemistry at Oxford, he has played with the University Orchestra, Wind Orchestra, Sinfonietta, Ripieno Players and Consortium Novum. During his time at Somerville, Josh also formed the Woodstock Quintet, which has performed clarinet quintet repertoire throughout Oxford. Again, it was the magic formula above that enabled his success, with Keir Rowe as his clarinet inspirational teacher.
Aside from the main thing, which is the intrinsic merit in the activity itself (rowing or music), there’s the deep imprint (or deep learning you could say) that comes from that sense of teamwork which gives results from feeling part of something which is far greater than the sum of its parts. Although I can lay no claim to having experienced this within an orchestra, I did some rowing at a lowly level: even if I and my brawny colleagues rarely experienced the out of body sense you have when an eight pulls exactly together and the boat shoots forward, I would vouch for it being one of the best feelings you can have.