Dame Mary Archer visited Rugby School last week to host a concert to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Rupert Brooke’s birth and the centenary of his poem ‘The Old Vicarage Grantchester’.
The unique event brought together pupils and staff, as well as the wider Rugby community, for the second ever performance of David Earl’s setting of the poem ‘Grantchester’.
The concert, which also included works by Warlock and Gurney, contemporaries of Brooke, was presented by Dame Mary who commissioned the Earl setting, and also acted alongside Mark Peyton in a duologue “Is there honey still for tea”.
The performance traced the life of Brooke and the origin of the poem ‘Grantchester’, an elegiac vision of an English paradise set in the vicarage in which Brooke lodged while at Cambridge, and which is now owned by Dame Mary.
Richard Dunster Sigtermans, the School’s Director of Music, conducted the performance, which included both pupil musicians and professional performers, to realise the demanding score.
David Earl later said: “I was extremely pleased with the professionalism of the musicians, and doubly impressed that my piece was put together so quickly and efficiently on the day.”