On Tuesday 14 October, nearly 5,000 guests arrived at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School. An evening of reflection and celebration, this was the largest gathering in the school’s history with an audience comprised of past and present pupils, parents, staff and friends of the Vaughan.
In 1914 the school was built as a national memorial to the third Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Herbert Vaughan, with founders including Viscount Fitzalan, the Marquis of Ripon and the Duke of Norfolk. The current Duke of Norfolk was therefore named Guest of Honour with many of the Vaughan family also in attendance.
After a moving rendition of Rutter’s The Lord Bless You and Keep You, the school’s world-famous Schola Cantorum continued to provide backing vocals for classical musical group The Priests with other guest performances from the likes of Old Vaughanian and stand-up comedian Dominic Holland and BBC news broadcaster Stephen Cole as compere.
The voluntary work of three parents resulted in a number of films created specifically for the event; footage uncovered from the school archive revealed the names, faces and stories of those involved in World War Two along with a collection of interview clips from a number of past and present memorable Vaughan characters. Dancers from the school salsa team and street dance crew also took to the stage to show off their moves, with the Vaughan’s Chamber Orchestra and Big Band impressing with a medley of popular musicals. As one current parent, Mr Mattar, said: “I don’t think that a venue any smaller would have accommodated the pride that we all felt in the school.”
Such a moving and memorable programme of events is to be credited to the Vaughan’s Music Director, Mr Scott Price, and demonstrates celebration in the truest sense of the word – celebration not as a display of self-congratulation, but as a joyous acknowledgement that what the Vaughan is, and has become, has its roots in where it’s from.
Headmaster Paul Stubbings said:
“Our centenary celebration was the largest ever gathering of our Vaughan community. I am humbled that so many Old Vaughanians joined us on the evening, and my hope is that many will stay involved in the life of our school move into our second century of love and service.”