Email from Paul Jay, KES 62-69

I was quite delighted some months ago to discover this page and associated data concerning Norman Barnes. Thank you for your work in sustaining his memory. Very enjoyable to listen to the recording of him playing the School song and then hearing his voice commenting on some explanatory aspects at the end of the mp3. He used to record every school concert performance on 7 inch tape reels - does anyone have those in archive?

I was at KES from 1962-69 and although I was no star pupil in music, Norman is the person I remember most of all the teachers there, for the interest and grounding in music that he transmitted to me. My work life has been in advanced high technology, but even the teachers who schooled me towards that have faded from my memory compared to NJB's influence. Most of my adult life has involved recreational music making to some extent, and since retiring a couple of years ago I have become absorbed in researching around the life of JS Bach. (If only I had been that interested back in 1967, perhaps I wouldn't have failed O-level music first time around because of poor marks on the Music History paper!). For some years I have been singing with vocal groups, and discovered a while ago that my O-level harmony training gave me the basic skills needed to do some interesting multipart vocal arrangements and compositions. I have even been admitted to masterclasses with some of the world's top a cappella pop vocal arrangers, which have been great fun!

Having noticed that people had posted scores of some NJB compositions/arrangements, it took me a while to unearth two examples of the famous 'bucolic purple' scores that were emitted to the Madrigal group for 'gimmick' performances at School Concerts in May 1965 (the Sam Wesley Gavotte, Swingled) and May 1967 ('Principia Edwardensia more cantum Angli-corum', or the School Rules set to Psalm Chants). I recall both these works earning encore performances!

So for wider interest I have scanned the scores and attach them here for you to post on the website if you deem it appropriate. I also concatenated midi files of the four psalm chants used by NJB, and include those as a postable midi file. (The chants are: Havergal E flat, Hopkins Gminor, Felton Cminor, and Harris Eflat.)

Curiously NJB entitled the 'School Rules' item as 'Gimmick 1965' but the pop record which inspired this (the 'Master Singers' singing the Highway Code to the same four psalm chants) apparently only emerged in 1966, so unless Norman had an inspired premonition of which chants they would use, his title must be a typo. I have always loved his mischievous re-writing of the School motto to 'Fac Nil Recte Time' which he translated as 'Do nothing at the right time'.

I hasten to add that I did not sing in the Madrigal Group, so never performed these, but I heard them first hand (either from my spot singing in the choir or later as timpanist in the orchestra) and scrounged copies from 'Himself' at a later date.

His sense of humour has been mentioned by others who have posted on the website. I recall him explaining to us the name for the lower register of the clarinet, using the story "as the woman said to her husband when the grass had grown too long, "Shall you mow?" (referring to the chalumeau). It worked as a mnemonic - I never forgot that!  Often if he passed me in the corridor he would comment "Ah, Jay - walking!" When on a notice board he wanted people to contact him or do something as soon as possible, he would use the word 'soonest'. When the pop group Procol Harum reached the charts with their organ-based hit 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' I nagged him for weeks and provided the sheet music so that eventually he agreed to play the organ part at a morning assembly.

Hopefully this could share some pleasure with others who had the privilege of learning from 'Uncle Norman'.

Best regards,

Paul Jay
Ottawa, Canada
6 Oct 2018