The creative arts – music, fine art and drama in particular – have long been a vital part of pupils’ educational experiences at Ipswich School. The commitment and level of achievement seen at the annual concerts at Snape Maltings, and the numerous theatrical performances staged throughout the year, are testimony to the success of the Arts at the School. The stunning stained glass windows by John Piper in the library building bring in visitors from around the world. The current development of new facilities for teaching music and plans in place for a new Recital Hall show that the future of Arts at Ipswich School is assured.
The historic Town Library, a collection of about one thousand books published between 1474 and 1760, is sited in the School and the School Archives has a fine collection of books, artworks and recordings by our own creative artists. OIs are now represented at the very top in the fields of music, the theatre, television, architecture and design.
Although the OIs have historically concentrated on social and sporting events, we are increasingly promoting the Arts as a focus for OI involvement – both in career advice for current pupils and by arranging events that draw former pupils together, sometimes with current members of the School. Our President’s Event in 2008 was a concert in the School’s former chapel (St. Peter’s Church) to celebrate more than 700 years of music-making. At the same time, John Blatchly and Richard Wilson published The Chapels & Music of Ipswich School, the first comprehensive survey of School music and the buildings in which it was performed. The 2010 President’s Event was a charity sale of artworks by sculptors and painters associated with the School, while 2013 sees a concert to celebrate two notable Old Ipswichians, Philip Broke (“Broke of the Shannon” who is remembered by the house of that name) and his brother Charles (Wellington’s Adjutant-General at the Battle of Waterloo). This concert, in conjunction with an international symposium being held at University Campus Suffolk, saw the launch of a major new book “Broke and the War of 1812” (including contributions from two Old Ipswichians), and marked the first appearance of an OI choir which we hope to develop in future years.