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E-mail from: Anna Montalto received 1 July, 2009 email@example.com
Dear John and Paul,
So ........ at Bush I was known as Anna Montalto (shortened form of my full name Anna Maria Attard Montalto) also regularly known as 'Tomato' in Miss Bush's classes, yep when she called me that I WAS the colour of a tomato! But commonly known amongst everyone as Bunty. So that has cleared up the confusing name issue!
Bush ............ wow. It's quite amazing I was only there for two years of my life but they were the two years that left the biggest impression on my entire life. Having gone to Bush from living on a small island (and still do in Malta) and only been abroad for 2 short holidays before that, it was a big learning curve for me in every possible way - and I am not talking just about the dancing side of things but about life outside the shelter of a tiny island. The impact those two years made on me have remained with me until today, and I say that in the best possible way. They broadened my mind, gave me a new way of thinking, made me grow up very quickly, appreciate everything I had, showed me a totally different way of life and different culture besides all the wonderful dancing, drama, enjoying being overdramatic (!) and of course was able to experience and start to love what goes on backstage. I made some wonderful friends who are my closest friends ever, even though we live miles away. Now having renewed friendships once again after many years it is wonderful to get to re-know all these lovely people (and they ARE lovely people) and catch up on all their lives these past years (where have the years gone?).
Friends Reunited was and is a terrific site to rediscover each other, but now with an official Bush Davies site it is so much easier. The best part is reading the fascinating history of
the school and the various families and connections in the dancing world. So much I did not know and I am sure everyone else feels the same way. We, note I am speaking for everyone here (!), are so appreciative to you for all the hard work that has gone into this. It is something that will live on - it was so important to put it all down in writing. Well done you, deserve a medal!
Although I was not yet at school when you did Captain Noah, you did get a choir together to perform various songs from it as part of the Spring Show (was it 1977?). (Ed. Cannot remember that at all!). I still have the music score tucked away somewhere and often, quite out of the blue, start singing ''When Japhet, Shem and Ham ...... something ....... a ewe sheep and a ram.....'' and finish off humming away cos can't remember the words anymore. So many wonderful memories. Have some good ghost stories too up in Cottage, sneaking out of bounds thru the woods off the front lawn and running down to the little shop in Felcourt to buy an ice cream on a hot summer's day only to find the shop was shut! Then hi-jacking an old man in his car to run us part of the way up the road so we could get back in time for our geography lesson. End of term dorm feasts (or rather drinking binges on Sainsbury's plonk). Petra always faithfully at John's side, Miss Bush's cockatoo (not quite sure what type it was but remember the lovely white plumage) - cannot actually remember it swearing though everyone used to say it did. Having to do our laundry scrubbing the filthy feet of our ballet tights on those wooden scrubbing boards in the laundry house. 'Cosmic Carrot' serving us our lunch and tea ......... I could write a book on all the little details to remember.
Thank you so much for all your effort to get this site up and running. It would be great to have a BIG reunion some day. I would have to pluck up a lot of courage to make it happen ... maybe there is someone out there a bit braver than me!
Bunty (Anna Montalto)
PS It would be nice to have some of the former teachers on this site too. (Ed. I also hope they respond).
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Email from: Susan Morton received 7 June 2009 firstname.lastname@example.org
I got quite emotional reading all about BDS, some of my best memories ever, there for 3 years from 1978. I was Susan Morton but have been married for 20 years now. After leaving Bush I worked abroad and in England for five years, the later years with a group called Xray. I then went on to have a family and have three children, the oldest is 19 and the youngest is 11. I now run a Performing Arts School in Saffron Walden which I love doing and is very successful.
I have Bush Davies to thank for the superb training that was installed in me and for the support and encouragement that the staff gave me.
I would love to hear from anyone that remembers me as I've lost touch with everyone. I did bump into Mandy Swainston the other day who now has a daughter and who is a beautiful dancer. We haven't seen each other for over 20 years and immediately started reminiscing!!!!
Pure Rhythm School of Performing Arts
39 Castle Street , Saffron Walden. CB10 1BD
Tel: 01799 501 579
Mob: 0705 2993288
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From Heather Mann,at Charters in the early 1950s email@example.com
This is a fantastic and much needed website and all due to the hard work of John and Lyndall who must have spent many a long hour hunched over a hot computer. Let us hope that loads of us "old" BDS boys and gals will contribute to it. These programmes are my small contribution, and when I think that I have been half way round the world and back...lost most of my possessions, my passport and a husband on the way, it is quite remarkable that these souvenirs have survived! I hope they bring back some happy memories.
Programme Charters Towers Workshop End-of-Term Performance 1952
Programme Charters Towers Workshop Cinderella 1953
Programme Charters Towers Workshop Puss-in-Boots 1955
Programme Charters Towers Workshop Bonaventure 1955
Programme Charters Towers Workshop Divertissement 1956
The latter production after the visit to see the Bolshoi's Divertissements in Croydon?
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E-mail No1: Julie Morton. Charters. firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been trying for quite some time to find out what has happened to various friends (and teachers) from BDS (I was a pupil from 1971-1978) and was so happy to discover that there is now an official home-page. Although I still haven't got around to reading everything, I saw that you are looking for information on Captain Noah. I still have the original cast sheet from 22nd July 1972.
CHOIR: (Ed. Some names are missing and Gilly is definitely on the cd. Also Pat Spiller was on the piano I believe)
D. (Diane) Scrivener, S. Mulkern, G. (Glenda) Nicholls, M. (Miranda) Atkin,
G. (Gail) Taphouse, C. (Caroline) Jenkins, S. Knox, B. Briscoe, T. (Susan) Townroe,
C. (Cherry) Gillespie, C. (Christine) Lukas, V. Foster, P. Foster, T. Hutchison, J. Radford, K. Large, A. (Amanda) Dale, C. Smith, J. Salton, A. Roux, P. Quinn, C. Wood, P. Willingale, C. (Cathy) Evers, A. Evans, A. Onslow, J. de Peyer, S. Adams, D. Gerrard.
Pianist: S. Lawrence
Percussion: K. Ball
There is no mention of Gilly Mack.
Hope this will be of some help.
I was at Bush for several years only missing the 8-year-cake by 3 months, which was a great shame because that was the only culinary highlight on offer. I've now been in Germany for 30 years, meeting my first husband (a conductor from the Guildhall) at a smaller theatre. We then moved via several opera houses until we arrived in Hannover in 1990 where I did a PDTC at the Musikhochschule and he met a voluptuous Operetten Diva who thought she was more suited to singing Wagner. After completing the course I moved to a smaller town where I have my own school. I have also now married my second husband who is German and has nothing to do with the arts.
I was thinking of writing something more on the lines of my memories of Susie Herbert chasing off the nightly prowlers dressed in a voluminous white nightdress with curlers in her hair and a broom in her hand, but since Mr. Rudd once told me after a miserable English exam that I was "going down the drainpipe of life" I lost interest in the English language and will need some time to gather my thoughts.
Best wishes and thank you for a wonderful musical background which has been so helpful to me over the years. (I didn't have much talent but was a hard worker who tortured anyone who was listening nearby with numerous repeats of scales and arpeggios!)
E-mail No 2: Julie Morton received 11 May 2009
I've really enjoyed reading the homepage, although I'm still not through with everything. Congratulations, it's a good read. It's strange to think that I spent so many years at the school and knew basically nothing about it's history. Of course during our education at BD we were more concerned with ourselves than with anything else and we always seemed to be preparing for or taking one of the many exams that meant
I'll never forget my first impressions. The audition atmosphere was very different from that of other schools. At that time there were only two candidates at the audition, which made everything much more personal. After being shown around the dorms and the beautiful grounds (the rhododendron bushes in the drive will always stay in my memory, not only because we had to draw them for our Art 'O' Level), we then had a
meeting with Miss Bush in the Folly to be informed of the results. I remember that she said to me that I had "high metartarsals", although at the time I hadn't a clue what she was talking about! In junoir dorm a girl was sorting socks as a punishment (and with twenty-two inhabitants and clean socks every day that was no mean task). That was Lucy Hanbury-Tennison, and poor Lucy always seemed to be sorting socks.
In junoir dorm everyone wanted to sleep on one of the four bunk beds, or in sick-bay, so there was a rotation system to make it fair. Nanny was in charge of us all. She was a lovely warm person, and it's strange to think that we didn't even know her name. And remember those ghastly blue pinnies we had to wear in case we should dirty ourselves? We couldn't wait to move over to the Main House to be rid of them. On leaving junior dorm I signed the loose floorboards, which were already full of signatures. Did anyone rescue them at the closure?
The first shock came really at the first meal. I couldn't believe the stodge that was on offer for future dancers, but "quiz" and "ego" was a very good system for disposing of unwanted delights. Then came Sunday dinner - only bread and butter and a can opener to open cans of fruit. On a slightly different subject, why did we get confirmed? There was no financial initiative then, as is now so often the case. It was very
simple really, it had to do with food. We had to go to church on an empty stomach which meant that when arriving back at school, the breakfast had to be freshly made. And anyone who can remember the piles of toast dripping with butter should surely understand. Later on we found out the true values of the obsolete irons in the laundry - we ironed slices of bread to make toast. And something else - I think everyone was in on the thriving black market.
One dorm we all wanted to sleep in was the tower. Unfortunately I had no luck, but instead landed in the equally desirable chalet. We, Janette (Froud), Lesley (Richardson), Tracey (Heaver) and Sue (Eastwood) were really impressed in the beginning. It wasn't until winter set in that we realised there was a huge knack. It was freezing! You could see our breath condense and the windows were frozen on the inside in the mornings. It did harden me up though I suppose.
This seems to be getting much too long, so just a few short memories:
Being called out of school by Miss Bush for coaching and her calling a bum a bim
Miss Percy's encouraging smile
Miss Camden's tortuous fondu exercises. Did she ever finish on time?
Miss Peterson's huge ear-rings and the shimmies
Priddy's inspiring accompaniment on the piano
Classes in candle-light during the power-cuts
Rudi - our only male
Meeting GBL Wilson in London in his old brown Mercedes to organise an
audition tour (thanks to Janette, Ali and Meg for a good time). I think
that nowadays one might suspect that a dirty old man was up to something
Bonfire night, baked potatoes and "We are the Champions" (was there also
The smell of wild garlic in Dorman's Land
The smell of Galoise
Singing Jerusalem at the end of each term - I'm still moved to tears
when I hear it
I really had a wonderful time at BD and I was proud to be a pupil. Maybe it was a mistake to glance through my diaries though as I always seemed to be struggling and was in constant fear of failure.
On the subject of Biddy, I actually loved her classes. We were all scared of, and respected, Miss Bush and she seemed to have an aura about her. Biddy had to be called Madame and we were expected to clap after every class, which was new to us. A problematic situation.
I hope I'm not being too personal, but after reading the homepage I've discovered that you and Paul are still together. I think it's wonderful that a relationship can hold for so long. Send him my best wishes. It's an honour for me that you describe me as being an instrumentalist. I know just how much luck I had in passing both my Grade VIII and A-Level. I also remember Petra placing her jaws very carefully around my
wrist while I was playing. Well, another happy memory.
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E-mail from Phillip Morris-Simpson Charters 1980s
Subject: Bush Davies Website
I hope yourself and Paul are keeping well. Just wanted to say a quick thankyou for building the website. I feel like I have been glued to it over the past two days, learning so much about the history of the school and all those involved.
Brilliant, well done and thankyou again.
Even though I was at Bush for a short time, my experiences and the things I learnt are defining, privileged and proud moments in my life.
To be able to support you guys in my adult years goes without question.
All the best and take care.
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