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Charters part one
1945-1969 page 16

John HarrisonEarly in 1968 a business colleague invited Paul to supper to meet his fiancée, a student opera singer and her repetiteur, John Harrison, a pianist and composer; both were studying at the Royal College of Music, London. The combination naturally appealed to the artistic and creative Paul though no-one could realise the significant impact it would have for Bush Davies. Two years later John was invited to set-up a music department at the school - hitherto, music had not been included as part of the curriculum, and significantly, to compose music for Le Grande Défilé. John had already met Noreen at Charters when he played the piano for her with a view to accompanying classes. John became Paul's trusted aide and supporter in his work at the school and their friendship has survived for over forty years. In 1982, Victor and Paul invited John to become a company director of Bush Davies Schools and subsequently he was appointed Deputy Principal. In addition, he was Chairman and administrator of the Adeline Genée Theatre.

Le Grand Défilé in black and white

Le Grand Défilé needs no description as every student who passed through the school from 1970 had a part in it. What surprised this author was to discover it had first been experimented with in the early-50s for an end-of-term show mounted in the school hall! Lyndall Thomas recalls, "Walking from the conservatory down the aisle amongst the audience, the smallest first and me, being the tallest, last with Adrian Grater - can't remember the music." In fact, in a programme Lyndall discovered, "The défilé may have been first performed as early as 1951 when the school presented a demonstration of its work in the Parish Hall in East Grinstead. There were twenty-two numbers beginning with 'La Grande Entrée du College' - I don't remember it although I was present." Click here to see the programme.

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