Ottershaw School Old Boys’ Society
Ottershaw School Old Boys’ Society

Raymond Monelle

Below appear observations and comments recently received about the late Raymond Monelle.

From Michael Timms - OT 511 - North.
I was listening to Classic fm and suddenly wondered what happened to “Spotty” Monelle, a teacher at Ottershaw. I didn’t like him, but he was a very good musician. I recall him producing a 10 inch LP of Rachmaninov’s 1st Symphony, which he had managed to obtain somehow from Russia (then a closed society) and which had never been recorded in the West. He also wrote a short piece for a small orchestra, which North House played in the inter-house music competition. I played the trombone part. I wasn’t very proficient, so I determined to play every other note. This worked well and no one noticed! See obituary https://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/obituary-raymond-monelle-1-798989

From Jeremy Orlebar - OT 497 - North.
Thank you so.much for passing that obit of Spotty Monelle.I always felt sorry for him as he was a fish out of water at Ottershaw. He was so talented. I remember one music lessons where he asked us to suggest a musual style and he would improvise on three blind mice in that style eg Beethoven or Vivaldi or Elvis. Some with - ahem - asked to Elvis and he was brilliant.

From Patric Hinde - OT 536 - East.
I remember him well. We created a “Jazz Band” at school and he encouraged us to play at a Parent’s day on the terrace outside the East House dining room. I believe we were heard on the cricket pitch where the Boys were playing the Parents. I remember we played his arrangement of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. There was Miller on Trombone, Measure on Clarinet, Mr. Monelle on piano and I played the Trumpet. I took up theTrumpet again about six years ago and now also play the Cornet in a local Brass Band. I have fond memories of Mr. Monelle.

From Josh Lovegrove - OT 812 - North.
I also have fond memories of Mr Monelle - he was a brilliant piano player and once gave a solo concert in which he explained the make-up of classical music. He did so by showing how pieces were constructed then playing them with overlays of modern songs such as the Beatles. It was really breathtaking how easily he was able to do this. At times I think Mr Wigram, the official music teacher, was a more than a little overshaddowed by his skills. At one point I had hoped he would become the official music teacher but sadly he left the school not long afterwards. In addition he could be quite good fun. One day I took a small electronic gadget into his class which I had built in the radio club. It emitted a very quiet but high sound and which I was able to change the pitch of. Mr Monelle looked around to try and work out where the sound came from and them proceeded to move around the room and poke things to try and establish the source. He tried the lights, the switches, the piano and the radiators but everytime he actually touched something I changed the pitch a little so it appeared his actions were influencing the sound. We kept this up for about 10 minutes much to the amusement of the rest of the class, but at the end of the lesson he gave me a look indicating he knew exactly what had been going on - but never mentioned it again.

From Roger Chesher - OT 666 - North
I can recall an incident during a music lesson in the period before the morning break. The lesson was with Wigram in the music room. Near the end of the lesson the door into the corridor was opened a crack, letting in all the noise from outside the room. Wigram strode over to the door and slammed it shut! Seconds later Monelle staggered in, holding his glasses and clutching his forehead, he had been on the other side of the door. Wigram strode back to his desk, sat down and scowled at us, making no attempt at an apology.

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