11th November 2020 — At the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month, students from across the Senior and Preparatory schools watched the service, including an Upper Sixth bubble Chamber Choir and the Last Post performed by the School's trumpet section.
The multi-location, live video and audio stream was a first for Brentwood School which is fast becoming a pioneer of remote learning and virtual events. The 20-minute service, led by School Chaplain Rev’d Dr McConnaughie, was live-streamed in the School’s Victorian Chapel, Reception and Cloisters. It was timed so as to incorporate the national two-minute silence at 11am.
Director of Music, Mr Florian Cooper, said: “I am delighted that we could join together and collectively mark Remembrance Day while adhering to social distancing measures.”
The service also featured a Drum Altar, built by Senior NCOs (non-commissioned officers) from the School’s Combined Cadet Force, and movingly accompanied by the Upper Sixth Chamber Choir singing Elgar's 'They are at Rest', conducted by Assistant Director of Music, Mr David Revels.
Rev’d Dr McConnaughie explained the Drum Altar: “This tradition dates back several centuries. Shortly before battle, soldiers sought to gather for prayer and in the absence of a chapel altar around which to meet, the regimental drums were laid together.”
The opening reading, given by Upper Sixth student Lucas, was followed by Headmaster Michael Bond reading lines from ‘For the Fallen (September 1914)’ by English poet and scholar Laurence Binyon.
This year the traditional Laying of the Wreath saw student Head of School, Beth, place the wreath on top of the drum altar. The Kohima Epitaph was read by the Bursar, Mr Jeremy Blunden CBE LVO, a retired Royal Navy Commodore.
Despite national restrictions, the beautiful and moving service, streamed on the School’s YouTube channel, was the perfect 21st century way to remember the men and women who gave their lives in the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts.