Last Saturday, jazz pioneer and saxophone player Sadie Crawford (born 1885 in Tooting) was a ‘lost woman of jazz’ no more. Her pioneering spirit was honoured by a blue historic plaque on her childhood home (and birthplace) in Fountain Road, Tooting, at an event which was a mix of a carnival, street party and a concert.
And I was delighted to announce at this occasion the introduction of a new SCHS music scholarship honouring Sadie Crawford’s pioneering work in the field of music, the Sadie Crawford Music Scholarship. Performing at this event, at our invitation, was Adrianna Forbes-Dorant, one of our Year 7 pupils and an accomplished jazz pianist.
It is fitting that this extremely gifted young lady has now been named first SCHS Sadie Crawford Music Scholar.
What a performance she gave of Ray’s Blues and Take Five, conjoined by an improvisation of her own devising! Adrianna was undoubtedly one of the many highlights of this enormously moving occasion.
This scholarship stresses the continued emphasis that the school places on finding ways for talented and pioneering women to receive apt recognition.
And it also stresses the central place of music and the arts in the school’s offer. For music, as with all the arts, promotes the essential skill of forming qualitative value judgements, as well as evaluating and interpreting — all of which are required for appreciating the human condition and living within a reality that is complex and non-binary. What makes a good performance? How might we interpret a piece of music?
Music stirs emotions and feelings that lie beyond the power of words, enabling us to explore the inner landscape of the human spirit. We are not robots, and as artificial intelligence gains currency and import in the workplace, it is even more important that our girls are well equipped to use their distinctly human skills.
All Streatham & Clapham High School music scholars are not only recognised for their talent but are also called to serve as ambassadors to share their ability with others to enrich the community. Our music scholars perform for local senior citizens, bringing them a connection that in some cases they’ve lost through speech. They inspire pre-school children with the joys and confidence-boosting qualities of performance such as we offer to the community via our Stay & Perform Sessions at our Prep School in Wavertree Road.
SCHS has run singing workshops for local state primary school pupils and teachers to inspire the pupils and advocate the importance of arts education for all pupils, irrespective of means. All our Year 7 pupils sing in the choir irrespective of ability, enabling all pupils to expand their relationship with music.
As a jazz pioneer, Sadie is a great inspiration for our music scholars, exemplifying that fearless, creative and adventurous spirit we seek to cultivate in all our pupils.
Dr Millan Sachania