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01st March 2007

United Nations Billion Tree planting campaign

A tree planting ceremony took place in the Fellows’ Garden in February. Remember the large chestnut on the Mound at the end of the garden? It succumbed to honey fungus some years ago. The College decided to replace it with a walnut tree, and Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Kenyan environmental activist, came to plant it, to the accompaniment of a New Orleans jazz band.

“The band played a concert in Hall, accompanied by some of the students, for whom the jazz musicians of the Ken Colyer Trust had run a workshop earlier in the day. I reflected that my predecessor, Dr Farnell, must be spinning in his grave. One of the musicians sent me a report from Melody Maker in the mid 1920s, headed: ‘Dr Farnell Fulminates about Jazz’. He informed a Summer School for Music Teachers in Oxford that, ‘Vulgar music may not be as criminal as murder, but it is far more degrading…Our civilisation was threatened by our own inventions, by dreadful noises, our horrible motor traffic, Americanisms and Jazz music…Don’t take your music from America’, he said, ‘take it from God, the source of all good music’. “

Francis Cairncross, Rector

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