Empire Day - May 24th, 1921
Empire Day was celebrated at the County School by a short service conducted by the Rev. J. W. P. Silvester, followed by a concert of appropriate songs interspersed with addresses by the vicar and that versatile preacher, Dr. Alexander Irvine.
It did one good to listen to the singing of the School choir under Mr. G. Thorn. There was an exhilaration and joyful ease about it all. It is doubtful whether another school has their equal. Their voices were beautifully pure, the part-singing splendidly balanced, and the phrasing and expression almost perfect. They sang an effective setting of "Lest we forget," Blanchard, "And did those feet," Parry - in which G. E. Stuart sang delightfully the opening solo - and later Professor Dunhill's characteristic "Sea Horses," and his setting of "A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea." In addition Mr. Edward Butlin, a master, used his fine baritone to excellent effect in "The Little Admiral," from Stanford's "Songs of the Fleet," and "The Song of the open country," from Easthope Martin's quartet of songs, in which the whole school helped along the chorus in lusty fashion. Mr. Butlin, of course, if it had been allowed, would have been encored over and over again. Finally they - or rather everybody - sang the school song, "Virtus non stemma," written by Mr. Randall Williams, the headmaster, with music by Mr. Thorn. The program was of unusual musical excellence, even for this school, and the accompaniments were sympathetically played by H. P. Rooksby and Mr. Thorn.
The speeches did not spoil the proceedings by undue length this hot morning. They were short and appropriate and both speakers emphasised the same point, that the stability of the Empire depended not on the arbitration of the sword but on the power of love.
Dr. Irvine, in a wonderfully dramatic address, paraded before us a pageant of the world's history, showing it as a succession of rising and declining empires, of peoples achieving domination by the sword and being destroyed by the sword. So long as that brutal, essentially evil thing war existed, this periodical slipping back of civilization was inevitable. The only scheme man had devised so far that gave promise of bringing an end to war was one for which he asked the enthusiastic help of the school - the League of Nations.
The headmaster, in thanking the Vicar and Dr. Irvine, mentioned that the School were alraedy taking an active part in the formation of a Junior League for universal peace.
Source: Gaytonian, June 1921