Tuesday, May 18

Rock On! Principals’ band on a roll

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If you thought school principals are strict rule-toting academics who would make you quiver with a steely stare, this quintet will prove you wrong. They are not just on a roll, they are simply rocking.
The five principals, two of them from Kolkata, have formed a rock band that has already kicked up a storm with their maiden performance at a city club last week. So overwhelming has been the response that their dates have been booked till next year!

Keyboard player Richard Gasper is secretary and principal of St Augustine’s Day School, Kolkata. Drummer Fr Peter Fanthome Jr is principal of St Jesus School, Lucknow while bassist Julian Broughton is principal of Julien Day School, Kolkata and guitarist Kim Noble the principal of Tunbridge High School, Bengaluru. David Hilton, principal of Hilton’s School, Dehradun, and secretary of Heads of Anglo Schools, was lead vocalist for the maiden performance but has expressed his inability to continue in future due to personal reasons. Talks are on with other principals to replace him.

Together, they calls themselves the ‘Principals Of Rock’.

“We have known each other for a long time, and we keep meeting at conferences and workshops. Our association started at one such principals’ meet and over time we got to know about each other’s keen interest in western music,” said keyboardist Gasper. Their discussion usually revolved around rock, reggae, country music and pop. The idea of forming a band was conceived at one such meeting in Bangalore. “We were confident about performing at shows and belting out good music to keep the audience enthralled. We also felt there are many talented principals whom we can encourage and who could in turn inspire students to take up music,” he added.

Fr Fanthome Jr, who plays the drums, recalled how the adrenaline flowed the moment their band played the first note on stage. “Our common love for music brought us together and also brought back memories of when we would perform on stage. The sense of comradeship, the excitement came pouring out the moment the first note was played. I felt honoured to share the stage with such amazing musicians and look forward to many more performances together,” he said.

Guitarist Noble feels their band has changed the perception of a school principal. “The band was formed to showcase that principals too can be fun and ready to rock. The band makes a bold statement that your average school principal is not just another brick in the wall,” he said.

Bassist Julian Broughton says it is the respect that they have for each other that has “brought out the best in all of us”.

The group has a repository of 25 songs that are stage-ready. “If we require any clarifications or practice, we hold a video conference. Everyone does his homework. Also, we have mostly preferred popular western songs. Before a performance, the band members are told about the scale in which the concert is to be played,” said Gasper detailing the long-distance coordination that goes on among them.

The band also plans to hold workshops for students across the country. “In schools, there is plenty of scope to create music as every institute has a band that performs at events, fests and concerts. The new generation’s fascination with YouTube and other social networking websites will not teach them how to strum a guitar. Since we have experience, we can share it with them,” Gasper said.


Source: Times of India

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