December 04, 2020
The Sounds of Music at Oxford School
When Miss Mary E. Martin founded Oxford School in 1909, she ensured that the arts were a part of the curriculum. A commencement program from 1914 lists the four graduates as starring in a day-long production, which included musical offerings, classical dancing and presenting a one-act play. Voices could be heard singing during music lessons at the end of the day. In 1955, both Oxford and the Watkinson School produced an operetta. The dance department held a dance symposium along with eight other schools. In 1956, Oxford got together with boys’ and girls’ Glee Clubs from independent secondary schools to form the Spring Choral Festival, which was directed by the well-known Moshe Paranov. In 1959, chamber music classes were available for more advanced musicians.
In the fall of ‘58, the singing group, Octo-Pipers was formed by eight seniors. Their music included favorites from the day, such as Yes, We Have No Bananas and It’s Almost Like Being In Love. Some of the girls played their own instruments, which included banjo, maracas and guitar. They sang not only at Oxford events, but also at formal dances at the Hartford Golf Club and Hartford Club. It was a very exciting moment when they recorded a record album in 1959!
The Octopipers have revived once again in 2002 when then-musical director, Marcos Carreras, brought together a select group of young women in Form 2 to sing in the style of the Octo-Pipers. The April choral concert that year was an extraordinary one to say the least! Mrs. Boots Cogswell ‘56, as well as other members of the original Octo-Pipers, were there to support this new group of Octo-Pipers and to perform together once again.
To this day, the Kingswood Oxford community continues to enjoy the rich talent and creativity provided by our students of the arts.
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