Last Friday, students, teachers and parents alike gathered outside the main hall, in anticipation for one of the school’s first post-pandemic sociable events. Similarly, behind the stage, musicians waited eagerly for a chance to play their thoroughly rehearsed pieces in front of a live audience once again after a long hiatus.

The Memorial Concert was split up into two parts. We started with the piano competition finalists, with the judges carefully examining the beginner, intermediate and advanced category pianists. Intermittently, musicians from the Brass Ensemble, Clarinet Choir and Guitar Ensemble performed their pieces and all this was rounded off by a performance from the Jazz Workshop, who performed 3 different songs with peculiar names such as ‘Sideways Walking Dog’. After the results of the piano competition were announced, the concert moved into its second phase - the remembrance of John Loarridge OBE.

One by one, close friends of the late headmaster stood in front of us and told us about their personal experiences with Mr Loarridge. Although many of the current students at Challoner’s never had the chance to meet him, it was clear to see that he had made a profound and positive impact on the lives of his students, friends and family.

The current headmaster, Mr Atkinson, also made an announcement: the school house cup would be renamed to the ‘John Loarridge House Cup’, as a way of permanently remembering Mr Loarridge’s great contribution to our school. After a respectful minute of silence, friends of Mr Loarridge were told to make their way to the reception, where they talked and reminisced about his life.

The John Loarridge Memorial Concert was a great way to have our musicians back in front of a live audience as well as, most importantly, honouring the life and legacy of a Challoner’s headmaster and his vast contributions to making our school the thriving place it is today.