NES Gala 2015 – a 13 year trip down Memory Lane

If someone were to tell me, 13 years ago (17 if you take it from the start date of my journey to high-school) that I would be sitting in the hall of the New English School watching my relative perform on stage, I would have taken you to the school nurse for possibly ingesting hallucinogens.

Last night, I had the opportunity to take a much needed, self-reflective trip to NES to watch the talents of 2015 capture the collective attention of the audience through the masterful handling of their instruments.


Walking through the gates, my heart skipped a beat. It is amazing how so much time could have passed and yet so little has changed. Upon initial passage, the first change is that the seating area on the left is now occupied by rows of lockers, and the water fountains on the right were “replaced” of sorts by one HUGE water fountain, built-in.

The hall from the first staircase, which I remember vividly as the examination hall, has either shrunk or my tired eyes no longer remember it – 13 years ago it seemed as though it were massive – stretching 20 students in all directions from the middle.. I still recall how during one exam my table was squeaking, and how Mr. Straney propped it up with blue tack.


Everyone stood for the playing of the national anthem, afterwhich the students took to the stage for their renditions of pieces made famous throughout history. As I looked casually to my left I spotted a familiar nikon camera behind a white mane and beard. To say that my eyes bulged at the sight would be an understatement; my jaw dropped and I was literally flabbergasted. Could it be, Mr. Johnson? The Biology teacher from 17 years ago? My relative confirmed this, and my expression changed to that of awe; for how little things had changed.


It seems that when English schools began trickling into Kuwait, there was a meeting of all of the Heads in which they agreed that the four houses in any school would follow the Google Chrome color scheme (which leads me to believe that time travelers walk amongst us since Google, much less Google Chrome, did not exist back then in the 19-God-Knows-When) of Red, Yellow, Green and Blue (stated in the order of the limerick – R(ed)oy O(range)f Y(ellow)ork G(reen)ave B(lue)attle I(ndigo)n V(iolet)ain). Each school was given the autonomy to name the houses as they please; The English School decided to go by naming them after famous castles in the UK – Windsor (my house), Balmoral, Buckingham and Sandringham which if memory serves followed the following color scheme – Green, Red, Blue and Yellow. We moved to NES and suddenly the houses were named after Kuwaiti Islands – which was very confusing indeed! Now they have taken on a further metamorphosis, to what I can only assume is cooler islands (without reverting to Google for clarification).

[editors note: old habit got the best of me, and I Googled the 4 houses only to realize its still the islands of Kuwait but with different names – most likely Greek]


The program was simply amazing with plenty a mirthful anecdote interjected to keep the mood light and jovial. The music was a delightful harmony of classic and modern, with songs that predate me as well as those that were released recently (fortunately I could sing along to a few – like Yesterday and All of Me although the first was a bit off which can be attributed to the intended pianist not making an appearance).

Given the number of ukeleles present, as well as guitars, it would seem pertinent to assume that they were being handed out to students as they entered school premises. The rest, their talent, being up to them.

The idea of requesting students to mentor other, younger students was by far one of the best things I heard that day, so much so I wished it were true 17 years ago, maybe it would have plucked the musical string within.

All in all, it was a truly delightful experience.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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