Before dawn on 8 June 2020, our staff superheroes prepare the next round of emergency food deliveries for the children of MMS–food now even more urgently needed after the devastation wreaked by Cyclone Amphan. By 7:00 am local time, they sent word that the team was on the road. Once again, they brave the pandemic. This time they also brave horrendous traveling conditions over roads and towns littered by debris and flood damage.
God speed to the MMS Superheroes, carrying food to our needy children!
God speed and many, many thanks to all of you who have contributed so generously to make this miracle possible. If you have not yet donated, but you would like to contribute, you can do so here on our donations page: friendsofthemathiesonschool.org/donate
Cyclone Amphan dealt MMS a hard blow, but our hearts and our spirits are strong!
Recovery efforts began the day after the storm and they continue daily. Despite daytime temperatures around 103 degrees Fahrenheit (over 39 degrees Celsius) and humidity levels pushing 100%, our seven staff members at MMS (with tail-wagging support from their canine mascots, Spotty and Valo) have been working hard to clean up debris and to dry food, mattresses, bedding, furniture, books, and music. It’s tough work, especially because the electricity is still out—which means they can’t even use fans to cool down!
Dipak and his team have been working on getting roofers in fix damage to the boys’ dorm, the kitchen, and the offices. They are also restoring the gardens and repairing the protective netting over the fish ponds.
Everyone is determined to make sure the school is ready as soon as officials allow the children to return.
Organizers in the UK and the US have begun several fundraising campaigns and—thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and people like you—we’ve made a good start on raising the money to pay for repairs to campus (and to continue feeding the children).
Thank you all for your help in our efforts to ensure that the Mathieson Music School continues to bring education and music to the needy girls and boys of Kolkata!
Music truly is the tie that binds. Even in these challenging times, it is connecting musicians at the Mathieson Music School in Kolkata with their friends at St. Mary’s Chard in Somerset, UK.
Today, Sunday, May 17, 2020, is Rogation Sunday, which is traditionally one of the three days before Ascension Day. Rogation Days are ones in which the faithful give thanks for their food and those who produce it; it is also a time when people ask for blessing on crops to yield a bountiful harvest.
Traditionally congregants at St. Mary’s Chard walk to all of the local Anglican churches, including St. Mary’s Wambrook, St. Mary’s Chard, St. Nicholas Combe St. Nicholas, and St. Andrew’s Whitestaunton, to pray and celebrate together. This year they were forced to adapt their service to comply with social distancing requirements, but they were also able to add musical accompaniment (via video) provided by the staff at the MMS.
Reverend Georgina Vye has provided us with a beautiful video of the service, including the music provided by Deputy Headmaster John Ashis Mondal (violin 1); Headmaster Dipak Sapui (violin 2); Superintendent Sairul Mollah (cello); Food Relief Team Member Projesh Dhari (cello/alto); and Executive Member Suraj Dolui (cello).
We hope you enjoy walking with them through the beautiful countryside of Somerset, sharing in their worship, and listening to the wonderful, heartfelt music of this group of talented musicians—all of whom were trained at MMS.
Do you recognize the boy in the front row, shown in the video below at a traditional Indian dance lesson at MMS many years ago?
HINT: You have seen him in our posts recently….
It’s Suraj Dolui! This talented cellist was an all-rounder back student then. Now he is a staff member at MMS, one of the key members of the emergency food delivery team (pictured here on his way to make the first the first delivery to current students).
An update from MMS: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction workers who have been building our new girls’ dormitory and St. John’s International School have been forced to remain on campus due to the current travel restrictions in Kolkata.
Since they are compelled to remain there, these generous people have chosen to continue their work for MMS working with the building materials that had been delivered to campus prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The West Bengal government required MMS to close due to the pandemic in March. Our students come from impoverished backgrounds and this situation has created great hardship for already vulnerable children and their families.
To help support our students in this dangerous and difficult situation, Mathieson trustees from the UK voted to fund food parcels, which MMS staff will prepare and deliver to the children as soon as we have permission from local authorities.
Including transportation, this will cost approximately $25 (£20) per student per month. At present, we anticipate continuing this support for our students for 3-4 months.
Everyone is in challenging financial circumstances at this time and so we’re hesitant to request donations. However, if you do find yourself in a position to make a donation to MMS, we would be deeply grateful for your support.
We have two new wonderful recordings of Jerry Noble’s first piece in the Songs of Hope series, one performed by Jean Jeffries (horn) and one by Ann Faulkner (violin). We’re looking forward to hearing an organ version from Iah Fontaine.
Anup and Jerry are still performing together–even thousands of miles apart. We hope you enjoy listening to the two of them perform Songs of Hope No. 1, composed by Jerry on March 22, 2020, so he and Anup could continue to make music together even though Anup is in London and Jerry is in Massachusetts.
Stay tuned for more Songs of Hope coming soon! Three more are composed and they’re working on recording them.
Today, the government of West Bengal, the state where Kolkata and MMS are located, notified all schools that they must suspend classes until March 31 to combat the spread of COVID-19. Of course, we are complying, and we are are doing everything we can to safeguard the health of all our students, faculty, and staff.
We are also continuing to make music around the world, because if there is anything the world needs right now, it is the joy and comfort that music brings. Here is a video dose of music from Anup (performed Saturday, 14 March 2020 at Cambridge University) to lift your spirits and soothe your soul.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit the Mathieson Music School? The students and staff from Strode College who are at MMS for a cultural exchange right now want to give you an insider’s view of a trip to MMS.
The group arrived in Kolkata on Saturday, February 8 and they will be in residence there until Thursday, February 20. Throughout their visit, we will post photos, videos, and blog posts from them so you can share the amazing experience with them.
Watch the video of the welcoming ceremony (listen for those conch shells)!
College Street in Kolkata is nicknamed Boi Para,
which is often loosely translated into English as “Book Town.” The street
stretches for about a mile and a half through a college-and-university-filled region
of the city, and it is famous for its many large and small bookstores.
MMS staff headed to College Street to purchase textbooks for students to use in the new academic year at our school (which began on 2 January 2020).