From the Headmaster's Desk, January 21, 2020

I like to listen to many different types of music. If you come by my study during the day you will often hear classical music, and towards the end of term or on a Friday evening, it will be more likely that I’m playing jazz.

In the past couple of years, I’ve come to really enjoy the music of Kygo, a young Norwegian DJ who has become globally famous. Last month he did a collaboration with two American musicians, Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall, better known as the Chainsmokers. Now when such high profile musicians as these three get together, it was always going to be exciting. But I was even more excited when the song was called, ‘Family’, as family is very important in my life.

Once I listened to the song, however, I discovered that the song is not about their biological family, but it is about their friends. As the old saying goes, friends are the family that you choose in life. In the song, the lyrics make the point that friendships can become as significant and as important as relationships with blood relatives.

The opening verse reads:

‘I know water that’s thicker than blood,
That’s deeper than love with my friends.
People come and some people go,
And some people ride ‘til the end’.

The music video of the song ‘Family’ is not just about friendship in general, but a tribute to a particular friend who plays in an important role in the lives of both Kygo and the Chainsmokers. This is a videographer, Rory Kramer, who has a high profile career, including filming these musicians as they travel and perform around the world.

Unfortunately, Rory had a mishap in recent years in which he tore his ACL, which slowed down his life and his career, which was followed by a near-fatal car accident. He survived both of these setbacks, but suffered with anxiety and depression as he did.

There is a happy ending – with the help of his close friends, including the three musicians who made the song, he is back in a good place.

He is once again doing the work that he loves and recently got engaged. He has been commended for his ‘bravery’ in opening up and telling his story about his struggles with mental health.

In the past month, through the holiday season, I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend some good quality time with my family, and I’ve also had the opportunity to connect with many of my closest friends. Besides holiday gatherings, I’ve also celebrated both a wedding and a 40th birthday of an old, dear friend, who was a great support to me in difficult times in my own life.

One of my friends said to me over the holidays, ‘Friendship is one of life’s great gifts, and I’m thankful for my friendship with you.’

Friendships are indeed important in life, and they can be incredibly powerful. It is my sincere hope that all of you make good friends in your time here at Blue Coat. It is normal during your teenage years that friendships become closer and play a more important role in your life. Besides making good friends now, I hope that in the years ahead you will look back fondly on your time here with these great friends. And perhaps continue to make memories with them – perhaps even celebrate their weddings and birthdays in the years to come. I have found that my closest friends as an adult are mostly those friends that I made many years ago, who have proven to be loyal and faithful support in good times and bad.

So whilst you enjoy the good moments, also remember the message of the Kygo and Chainsmokers song, ‘Family’. Sometimes you may really need your friends, and sometimes they may really need you.

Please do look after each other – it’s Blue Monday, after all.  And have a very good week.

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