19 May 2013



One of the highlights of the Cookham Festival was undoubtedly a performance of Andrew Carter’s Galloping Godiva by three Cookham primary schools at the Odney Club on Sunday. After rehearsing collaboratively for just two hours, the pupils from Herries, Cookham Dean and Holy Trinity schools combined to create one “village choir” in a very impressive performance.


“Galloping Godiva is a jolly story. The capacity audience enjoyed every minute and there were plenty of laughs,” said Cookham resident, Ann Groom.


Andrew Carter’s script retells the story of Lady Godiva’s naked ride through Coventry in a pop-jazz cantata style. The 11th century noblewoman was protesting against the oppressive taxation which her husband had imposed on his tenants.


The performance was conducted by Gillian Dibden, MBE, one of the country’s leading young people’s musical educators and conductors, and coordinated by Jami Castell from Herries, a highly experienced music and drama teacher.


Several of the pupils from all three primary schools gave solo performances, including Sam, a Year 6 pupil at Herries, who sang “Peeping Tom”. This expression refers to a man named Tom who, according to legend, watched Godiva ride and was struck blind or dead.


To Sam’s surprise, the audience asked him to repeat his performance at the end, capping off a memorable afternoon for him and his friends:


"I enjoyed Galloping Godiva because the songs were fun and witty. I also liked getting to know people from other schools.” 


Sophie Green, head teacher at Herries reiterated Sam’s comments and said that it had been wonderful to see all three schools working so well together: “We really benefited from the expertise of Gillian Dibden and the standard of the performance was very high. All of the pupils who took part are to be commended for their commitment, hard work and skill”.


The pupils from all three schools also performed “I Turn on the Tap” by Richard Stilgoe and “ Times Must be Changing” by Alan Simmons.


Whilst enjoying afternoon tea in the Odney Gardens afterwards, there were calls for another community school choir in two years’ time. Congratulations to all of those involved!    




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