The Grey Staff Soirée


(c) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 2 months ill …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Advantage Ed

Grey!

In 1988, my last year of teaching at Grey High, colleagues Dee Hollelly and Neil Thomson initiated the Grey Staff Soiree. It showcased the unbelievable talent that we had on our staff – from music to acting to slapstick – and raised funds to enable a deserving Grey boy to attend a university.

The first Soiree was planned to run in the De Waal Hall for the parents from the Wednesday to the Saturday evening. Besides the show, there was a dinner served and, of course, a cash bar.

Included in the donations, was a generous number of beer kegs by SA Breweries, intended to last for the duration of the four shows, but ran dry on the first night!

The first MC was deputy head Brian Hibbert and the actors were all of us barely twenty year old teachers of The Grey. At the interval, Hibbert MC was challenged by Stapleton AC (threatening at that stage to run naked onto the stage!) to stand down from his position as MC! It was nothing personal but was only “for the sHake of the Show”!

Well, the show continued and ended with the Six Degrees, a band of staff members that continued playing for the parent dancers, and with Tommo’s help, into the wee hours of the morning.

The Wednesday show was so successful and “tiring” that the actors were unable to take to the stage on the Thursday evening. A rapid deployment of the parent audience booked for the Thursday evening was made, and the show continued on Friday and Saturday.

In fact, the show has continued for 26 years (with breaks in between) and now,traditionally, only on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, but never on a Thursday!

So, this past Saturday evening, saw us attend the 2014 Grey Staff Soiree.

From the original Six Degrees remains Neil Thomson (then drums, now guitar and vocals) and Ed Lunnon (then keyboard, now retired). Mike Thomson has moved on to Michaelhouse, Tony Reeler is headmaster of Pretoria Boys High and Greg Cunningham is now deputy head in Sydney Australia.

My roles in the Soiree, in addition to keyboards, have been actor (Fawlty Towers and many other skits) and, two years ago, MC.

This year, for the very first time, I was able to watch the show in its entirety as a member of the audience. I was convinced that the youngsters would not be able to fit into our shoes! They surely would not be as good as we were back in the day!

I was proved wrong.

Now, with Greg Thomson (Tommo Jnr) and Bigsy (Jason Bigara – one of Sean’s contemporaries and now a teacher) as joint MC’s and a host of enthusiastic new young teachers doing the acting (some repeats and a few old faces, I may add!), the show continued into the late evening, and we danced the night away!

Yes, “for the shake of the show” and the benefit of the bursary fund, long may yet another of The Grey traditions continue.

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One comment on “The Grey Staff Soirée

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