Here we are; the 40th anniversary of Brockwood! An amazing organisation, interesting and quite original workshops… and a big wave of emotions! Friends, families, but also unknown faces… many people (450 at the peak) to talk to, to discover, to spend four days with in a very Brockwoodian atmosphere, learning, laughing, remembering…
Here are some interviews about feedback from some people present at the reunion:
“It felt quite overwhelmed with all the happiness of being together with so many friends… it created a special atmosphere..
I also felt a strong team feeling; it was a good experience for the staff who were in charge of the reunion and I think it went very well. It was very touching to see that people appreciated a lot all what was happening.
Also the auction was crazy; it was quite stressful when I felt it was getting a bit chaotic but Kevin and I had lots of fun. I have a lot of respect for the professional auctioneers now.
The reunion was quite emotional, especially for people who were coming back after maybe 20 years. I saw Brockwood with fresh eyes. It was great, there was so much going on!”
Orlando, Volunteer Staff:
“I think the number of people was a great success. It was interesting to see how we had to organize everything. The week was very intense. That has been my first approach to the school, and it was a good experience to meet other people; former students and staff…
I very much enjoyed the final dance party; the live music was great and everyone danced a lot. Just listening and dancing is amazing, you feel completely free; the musician and the people all together… that created a real feeling.”
Thomas and Béla, volunteer current Students:
(Thomas) “Discovering Brockwood under a different light helped me to understand the school’s roots and broader life. Coming back to the origins, by appreciating each different generation, their approaches to the teachings and to life in general, their understanding of the place, their experience of it. Appreciating Brockwood’s wide impact by meeting an unknown branch of its power, the people who carry with them the spirit of the school, their understanding of it, discreetly spreading it into the world.”
(Béla) “In the first game we did, it felt to me very easy to get to know the people and to talk to them.
I was working in the kitchen and everything went very smoothly by the fact that people were really working together.
Also the informal evening was really unique; everything was high quality, the acting, the music… Seke’s show was really good.
I think there was a great energy to create something like that together in such a short time… For me, this is what reflects the whole reunion; this energy.
Hm (sigh), it was such a great time…”
Chris (former student) and Magda:
(Chris) “The reunion provides a perfect opportunity for former students to come together, reflect on their lives and how Brockwood influenced them.
It is also important for the school to communicate to us its present development and needs, to help us understand how to help it as former students.
It’s a great way to see old friends.
(Magda) It was my first visit to Brockwood. Already the first day I felt home and welcome by all the people, the younger and the older. It was very special. I think this place plants a seed in the heart of people that shows itself in their adult life.”
Guylaine (former student), mother of Pauline (current student):
“Rota and folk dancing stand out when I think of this Summer’s Reunion plus the lovely feeling of coming home to something very familiar: the smells (whether it comes from the oranges in the fruit bowl, the dishwasher or the compost-bin… I still don’t know). The subtle light that comes from the conservatory when you walk down the corridor.
But more than just a nostalgic journey in the past, it strikes you how very modern and up to date the discussions are, the concerns about the environment, the planning of a new building, the huge choice of subjects being taught… Brockwood hasn’t aged a bit.
Mary Cadogan helped us understand where the School had emerged from, passing on anecdotes and remembering Dorothy Simmons.
Like the circles we built holding hands trying to recall the steps that went to the music (we didn’t do too badly, Jim, you’d have had a laugh though), I liked the idea of us all getting together as a big group for TOTWAM*, or sharing moments as a smaller group listening to Alan (quite an entertainer!) and other more recent talents play the piano, in workshops with Harsh or even in more restricted groups simply doing rota (mainly to seek some warmth!) with new and yet very familiar faces.
And then there was the trail, like a chain through time between those who had been there then and those who were here now. All of a sudden you could visualise where you stood in time (never had I quite realized how close it was to the beginning of the School in 1978 when I had come as a student) and we all walked in a file through the woods behind what used to be the Art Barn, across the Garden, round the Centre, over the gate, across the front lawn and into the Grove, all of us moving forward, with the same energy in a trail that seemed endless.”
*The Only Time We All Meet
Pauline Gaubert, student from France