Hadn't looked in on the Forum for a while and was delighted to find this thread – but quite surprised at some of the comments. It all goes to show how personal and subjective our memories are, I suppose. In particular, I was surprised at the dissing of the music and art teaching, or supervision, or direction, whatever it should be called.
In my time at CH (exactly parallel to Dr Scuffil's) I feel that I got a very solid grounding in singing – under Corks, until he left – and in my mid-teen years I found in the Art School and in Nell Todd's company and quiet encouragement a place of refuge from some of my teenage demons. One of the great things about the Art School was the open doors – just to be able to go there when one wanted to, and try doing what one felt like trying, and being made to feel welcome. Maybe it's true that we didn't get much *instruction* from Nell – that wasn't her way – tho' I do remember learning about J M W Turner from the other art teacher, Mr Vaughan, which came back vividly to mind when watching the recent biopic 'Mr Turner'.
But with Nell, I got to experiment with watercolours and gouache, and with oils, too – I remember getting very excited about the paintings that John Bratby did for the film version of Joyce Carey's 'The Horse's Mouth', with their very heavy, thick swirls of oil paint, and trying to achieve something similar with a picture of the late Clive Perdue's back drying off after a shower, that I suppose ended up with Clive.
I also powerfully recall listening to Jacqueline du Pré, who was Nell's goddaughter maybe?, practising on the cello on the balcony of Nell's flat upstairs in the Art School - 'powerful' is the right word.
But the music – I never had enough self-discipline to learn to play an instrument properly, to my chagrin later, so don't feel competent to comment on that side (the Band was of course outstanding, but that was under different management) – but for singers, there was the Chapel Choir, and the Big School choir, and the Madrigal Choir. I currently sing in the local church's 'better' choir, which recruits from across a swathe of the county, and things I learnt in the CH Chapel Choir over fifty years ago still stand me in good stead: lots of good Anglican settings of the Magnificat and Te Deum and so on, but also gems like Vaughan Williams' 'Mr Valiant-for-Truth', which I can still sing from memory today. In the Big School Choir we sang Walton's 'Belshazzar's Feast', and Constant Lambert's 'Rio Grande', as well as more conventional works.
It was certainly my understanding at the time that Corks was dismissed by Seaman for unbecoming conduct of one kind or another, or both, and it was great that he then got the position at St Paul's. Fairly soon after he'd left, he invited a group of us to do a lunchtime concert in one of the City churches – it must have been on breaking-up day at the end of term, I suppose – which also involved a visit to The Rising Sun. Some of the comments on this thread about how he could hold his drink miss the point, perhaps, that some alcoholics do in fact cope with the intoxication remarkably well – but it's a feature of their alcoholism, and I think once he was at St Paul's and no longer in a school environment, he probably let go more, and the alcohol took over. That he was gay was also perfectly obvious, but not surprising.