The School's Hymns


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    The school has had at least three hymns remembered as "The School Hymn".
    Click the hymn title to read about it in the School's context - or just play the tune from the web:

  • Jerusalem the Golden
    www.cyberhymnal.org has the tune

  • When through the whirl of wheels and engines humming
    www.cyberhymnal.org has the tune

  • These things shall be!
    MIDI files of the non-standard tune, at the School's slow tempo, of the plain melody and with the soaring treble descant.
    ...and here's an experimental rendering of the first two verses as an MP3 file.


    School Hymn Re-recording Commission

    The project to commission a re-recording of the first three hymns by a choir with the right boy-treble dominated sound is still alive. Hopefully without the droning of the upper forms which Mr Capey occasionally tried to correct by a very public "master class".

    The latest strategy is to try to obtain just "raw" tracks for the parts of boy-trebles, descant-boy-trebles, possibly boy-altos, and the piano accompaniment. These will require less time from a commissioned choir - as "time" appears to be the oft-repeated constraint. They will also have the advantage of being able to "sight sing" instead of our old choir's method of "learning by ear".

    Even modern "home" recording is probably superior to the results on the mono reel-to-reel tape-recorder used by the School in the early 1960's. These "raw" tracks will then be multiplied and mixed with older voice parts using a computer.

    If you know a boy-choir that would undertake the commission then please contact the Webmaster.

    With hindsight it is amazing what Mr Light and Mr Capey achieved with the very limited choir practice time. The afternoon dress-rehearsal in the venue, while the rest of the School enjoyed a half-holiday, was well worth the sacrifice for the unforgettable experience of a successful evening's performance.

    Unfortunately boy treble dominated choirs have almost disappeared from everyday experience but the boy choir Libera is going from strength to strength. Listen to some of their choir en masse pieces - close your eyes and you are back in the Queen's, or Victoria, Hall on Prize Day - although the setting is often more like St John's, Hanley.
    For those who remember the Lyndon (Linden?) Hughes solo at the 1961 Prize Day then there are also some incredible soloists.
    See some of Libera's sample videos from their many CDs. Here are their CD releases and worldwide concerts - including samples.

    The world of boy choirs is well represented by video clips official, and unofficial, on YouTube.

    Jerusalem the Golden - Songs of Praise 198
    (First tune - Ewing)

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    John Whitmore (who was at the Junior Technical School from 1940 to 1942) says
    "As one who attended the school in the earlier days, I cannot ever remember hearing or singing "When through the whirl of wheels". What I do remember most clearly is that we used to sing at Morning Assembly with great gusto and no doubt very much out of tune, the hymn below. What we lacked in expertise we surely made up for in volume. Even Mr Thomas the pianist used to half stand as he pressed with all his might on the loud pedal.

    As this was during the war years I expect that Mr Collinson who was himself a war casualty (he lost a lung in a gas attack in WW1) chose this because of such lines as "the shout of them that triumph", "and they who with their Leader have conquered in the fight" and "Oh, sweet and blessed country, the home of God's elect!"

    The words to "Jerusalem the Golden"
    Note these are the four verses sung at school - out of an incredibly large possible number!
         Jerusalem the golden, 
         with milk and honey blest,
         beneath thy contemplation
         sink heart and voice oppressed:
         I know not, oh, I know not,
         what joys await us there;
         what radiancy of glory,
         what bliss beyond compare!
    
         They stand, those halls of Zion,
         all jubilant with song,
         and bright with many an angel,
         and all the martyr throng:
         the Prince is ever in them,
         the daylight is serene;
         the pastures of the blessèd
         are decked in glorious sheen.
    
         There is the throne of David;
         and there, from care released,
         the shout of them that triumph,
         the song of them that feast;
         and they who with their Leader
         have conquered in the fight,
         for ever and for ever 
         are clad in robes of white.
    
         Oh, sweet and blessèd country,
         the home of God's elect!
         Oh, sweet and blessèd country,
         that eager hearts expect!
         Jesus, in mercy bring us 
         to that dear land of rest,
         who art, with God the Father,
         and the Spirit, ever blest. 
    
          Words: Bernard of Cluny, 1145;
          trans. John Mason Neale, 1851, 1859 Music: Ewing Meter: 76 76 D 
    

    www.cyberhymnal.org has the words and music to Jerusalem the Golden


    When through the whirl of wheels and engines humming - Songs of Praise 698 (Lombard street)

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    This was believed to be the school hymn at some time in the 1950s, although opinion is divided on its exact status. See below.
    www.cyberhymnal.org has the words and music.


    These things shall be! - Songs of Praise 312
    (to the music of "Winchester New" - Songs of Praise 137
    using the Geoffrey Shaw descant alternative setting)

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    Peter Deakin says
    "These things shall be!" became the school hymn circa 1960. Prior to this it was Songs of Praise 698: 'When through the whirl of wheels and engines humming...', which was so appropriate for Stanfield County Technical School, producing technicians and artisans. However, the School (Bill Potts) wanted us to gain High School status, and thus a more 'noble' hymn was selected - much the same as we were re-badged at this time with the compasses and geometric shapes replacing the interwined letters "SCTS".

    However Terry Chell who was a pupil at Stanfields from 1952 to 1959 thinks that "These Things Shall Be!" went back further.

    He says "'These Things Shall Be!' was the school hymn for all of that time and was frequently sung at morning assemblies and certainly at 'Speech Days' held at the Queen's Hall in Burslem. By strange coincidence it was also the school hymn at the first school where I was a teacher .....Watlands School at Porthill."

    Derek Johnson adds "Stanfields was not the only school to pick "These things shall be" as their school hymn, I have found that Tapton School in Sheffield uses it too!".


    The use of this hymn later became controversial because it was considered by the Bishop of Stafford to be a Humanist rather than a Christian song. See the letter to the School Review below. Circa 1967 the Bishop's sensitivities may not have been solely to the Humanist tones. Other established settings of the original poem's words to music are still causing controversy.

    The music of These Things Shall Be!
    It appears that the tune we used is different from that in Songs of Praise. We used the stirring "Winchester New" which comes from Musikalisches Handbuch (Hamburg, Germany: 1690).

    The choir's trebles used to show off by using the Geoffrey Shaw descant arrangement on the second, fourth and last verses.
    It is not absolutely certain which were the descant verses. The above are the ones which automatically trigger the attempt to sing the descant in old boys' long-gone treble register.

    The tempo was relatively slow so the descant line's highs could be held for impressive periods. This was especially true in the final verse. Then the tempo of the last line, and particularly the last few words, slowed right down to build maximum volume into "...Wheen aaall theee earrrth iiiis paa-arra-diiiiise" ..and a clean-cut stop!

    At Prize Day - new boys' parents who were familar with the tune, but not these words, would be heard to start confidently - then falter with a strangulated gasp in the middle of the relentless third line. Mr Capey had to teach the school assembly how to take the sustaining breath "on the comma" in the second line - causing a perceptible off-beat start to the following word.

    Here are MIDI files, at the School's slow tempo, of the plain melody and with the soaring treble descant.

    ...and here's an experimental rendering of the first two verses as an MP3 file.

    The words of These Things Shall Be!
    The school hymn "These Things Shall Be!" is derived from the poem "A Vista" by John Addington Symonds 1840-1893

    The words of the school hymn were however slightly different to the poem which is quoted below:



    "A Vista"
    THESE things shall be, -- a loftier race Than ere the world hath known shall rise With flame of freedom in their souls, And light of knowledge in their eyes. They shall be gentle, brave, and strong To spill no drop of blood, but dare All that may plant man's lordship firm On earth and fire, and sea, and air. Nation with nation, land with land, Unarmed shall live as comrades free; In every heart and brain shall throb The pulse of one fraternity. Man shall love man, with heart as pure And fervent as the young-eyed throng Who chant their heavenly psalms before God's face with undiscordant song. New arts shall bloom of loftier mould And mightier music fill the skies, And every life shall be a song, When all the earth is paradise. John Addington Symonds

    In the school hymn, "light of knowledge in their eyes"
    was converted to "light of science in their eyes".

    An additional verse was inserted after verse 2:

    "They shall be simple in their homes
    And splendid in their public ways,
    Filling the mansions of the state
    With music and with hymns of praise."
    
    An exhortation to Civic duty?

    In verse 3, "Unarmed as comrades free" was
    changed to "Inarmed as comrades free".
    A bit too much pacifism going on there?

    Verse 4 of the poem disappeared.
    Thus removing the only overt religious reference, along with an allusion to other aspects of J.A.Symonds's philosophy.

    Does anyone know who changed the words? It is possible that this was one of many Ralph Vaughan Williams revisions in 1925/31. It seems too much to hope that anyone has a recording of the school singing it but you never know!


    Footnote:
    The "Baptist Hymn Book" (1962) also has this hymn - number 196 - to totally different tunes.

    However the words follow the original poem without the subtle changes noted for the "Songs Of Praise" version.

    It includes both the "new" verse "They shall be gentle, brave and strong..." and the "missing" verse "Man shall love man, with heart as pure...".

    It also has an extra verse at the end. This sounds a rather downbeat ending. It is hard to see the descant trebles making the same crescendo of "..necessity." as they did with "paa-arra-diiiiise."
         "There shall be no more sin, or shame,
            Though pain and passion may not die;
          For man shall be at one with God
            In bonds of firm necessity."
    
    It is rather paradoxical that the Bishop of Stafford would have had no reason to object to the Baptist version on his quoted grounds.




    After Mr Potts retired in 1967, the hymn went out of favour as can be judged from this letter written to the School Review in 1968.

    LETTER TO THE EDITOR
    Lower Sixth Arts,
    Stanfield Technical High School.
    25th July, 1968.
    The Editor,
    "The Review".

    Dear Sir,

    What has happened to the School Hymn "These things shall be.."?

    It was not sung at the Annual Prize Distribution, and has been conspicuous by its absence at all recent school functions. It is, in fact, more than a year since we have stood shoulder to shoulder voicing its fine measured tones.

    A former and excellent Speaker, the Bishop of Stafford, first frowned on it on the grounds that it was a Hymn of Humanism rather than a vow of pious resolve. That may well be, but it can still inspire pupils to great and unselfish heights, as the first verse makes clear

    "These things shall be! A loftier race 
    Than e'er the world hath known shall rise 
    With flame of freedom in their souls 
    And light of science in their eyes."

    Such a laudable situation is not necessarily to be attained solely through religion, and the Bishop's words seem to have been more of an opinion than an argument.

    Several of us have debated the subject at some length. and we hope that the present state of affairs will be remedied early in the next school year.

    Yours faithfully,
    S. P. Copner and R. P. Wright


    The
    1969 Prize Day programme shows it still to be missing. The substitution of "All people that on earth do dwell" would have made the Bishop very happy with some nineteen implicit, or explict, references to the Christian god in one form or another.

    As far back as the records go - the concluding hymn was always "Praise my soul the King of heaven". Followed by the National Anthem.


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