(From The Oundelian, published June 2021)
OSCAR is back… restricted and abbreviated, but still the life force of culture and enthusiasm that it always was and always will be. With over 200 requests for new songs on the system, this season has provided further evidence of that cultural eagerness at Oundle for learning beyond the classroom.
OSCAR has forever been an opportunity for a group of individuals to come together in the production of a School radio programme of unparalleled quality, a single pupil body with everyone pulling their weight. The broadcasts are such valuable moments of the year because we all contribute. Every listener, director, host, techie and guest member plays an irreplaceable role in a system that would simply crumble without their support. The implication of such a wonderful system is that OSCAR is a resolute and irreplaceable ‘bringer together’ of people, year after year.
"OSCAR has forever been an opportunity for a group of individuals to come together in the production of a School radio programme of unparalleled quality, a single pupil body with everyone pulling their weight."Marcus Raudnitz, Laxton
When it came to the making of the November broadcast, Mr Pettitt asked the music directors to send in a selection of new songs for the School system. He said to particularly bear in mind music that has been relevant in society since March 2020. I can’t say that I’m especially in touch with today’s top 50 so I was left wondering how I could rise to such a task. This is when I had the idea to compile an OSCAR playlist, a themed series of songs, inspired by the divisive, polarising nature of our lives in these past months, that could span a range of culture, ethnicity, genre and popularity, in a way that speaks OSCAR’s message very clearly: we are not a rabble of different demographics and statistics, but a single platform to represent how working in cohesion with one another can lead to the creation of something truly unique, artistic and imaginative.
An obvious song to have chosen was I Want To Break Free by Queen, with its anthemic brilliance; Freddy’s unmistakeable charm oozing down the microphone like rich liquid Mercury and of course its convenient corona connotations (disclosure: break free with caution, COVID-19 is very real). But it is A Change is Gonna Come by Otis Redding that really sparked my imagination on this playlist. Read what you will into this song, to me this is an ode to politics this year, though in a few years’ time it will probably hold a very different significance in my being. Its place in this playlist is only strengthened when one hears Redding’s brass-instrument lungs piercing over the jazz band, stately and slow like a thick golden syrup from a silver spoon.
So to answer the question… no, OSCAR has not been held back by recent affairs. In fact, to be on air, live and well again with my peers is such a joyous experience. I enjoy the anticipation before the show, the feeling that today is a special day because tonight I’m putting the pen down and picking the headphones up. This has served as a lesson to me that beyond the confines of our immediate focuses in life, such as deadlines, the most helpful thing that we can do for each other as humans is to talk to each other, and not just to express our similarities but to share our differences. It is only when we have learnt empathy for those around us that life becomes anything more than a Twitter feud.
‘Let’s get together and feel alright…’