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News > Alumni > In Tune With NGS Since 1952 – The Sherringham Family

In Tune With NGS Since 1952 – The Sherringham Family

The Sherringham Family has shared a rich history with the School for over 70 years. Evanne shares her and her family's journey with the School from being a student, a parent and a teacher.
The Sherringham Family ready for Speech Night 1984.
The Sherringham Family ready for Speech Night 1984.

Mrs Evanne Sherringham, former Director of Music, recently shared with us some memories of her family’s close ties with the School, spanning 70 years.

Evanne began attending Church of England Girls’ Grammar School (CEGGS), as it was in the 1950s, when she was 10 years old. “I was too young to be accepted into Maitland Girls’ High, so my travels by steam train and up Newcomen Street began,” recalled Evanne.

“Merrilie Roberts was the Headmistress at the time and it was a girls’ only, day and boarding school,” she said. “The boarders often had amazing tales to tell, and hot lunches were available for all in the dining room, if you were brave enough to stomach things like ‘Perkins paste’!”

“Every morning began with prayer time. A short service in classrooms that opened into one large room; a Bible reading, prayers and the School Hymn, plus one other. I was on a roster with Judy Single and Robyn Lance to accompany the hymns.

“Because it was a small school, we all knew and looked out for one another, it was a happy place. I repeated my first year because of my age and in my second last year I was the only student studying Latin. I felt privileged to have this one-on-one class, but then the teacher left and wasn’t replaced.

This left me with not enough units so I had to quickly pass some extra Music exams to attain the level needed for the Leaving qualification. I did well and was accepted to do a Music degree at Newcastle Conservatorium.”

There were just 13 Grammar girls who sat for the Leaving Certificate in Evanne’s graduating year, 1959. Evanne said the girls have had several reunions, the most recent being a luncheon at the Newcastle Club to celebrate 60 years.

Having married and moved to Newcastle, Evanne and her husband Barry had three sons: Dean, Brad and Leigh, all of whom were students at Newcastle Grammar School. Dean started a year after they began to accept boys. The school was then run by Mr Rex Morgan’s Pittwater House. “The boys and girls were in separate classes but mingled at recess times. This system worked very well!” said Evanne.

Dean commenced Secondary School in 1979 and joined the Cadets. He became Company Sergeant Major (the cadet appointed to be responsible for the company; second highest in the corps), with Samantha Savage as Lieutenant. Dean was elected School Captain in 1984.

The following year, Dean went on a Rotary exchange to Denmark, returned to study Psychology at The University of Newcastle, and then moved to Sweden to do another course. He is now married to Sandra, who is Swiss, and they live with their three adult children in Basel. He is now the Global Manager for a large pharmaceutical company.

Brad started two years later at NGS, made many friends and was very good at long distance running.
Brad was also elected School Captain. He is now CFO for the Institute of Actuaries in Sydney. Brad is married to Janine and they have two children. He and his 11-year-old son Will are both avid cyclists. Will now competes in State races.

Leigh began attending NGS in Year 2 and is still a musician with the School. He studied trombone at Newcastle Conservatorium
and then joined NGS as a Brass Teacher and Conductor in 1993. Mr Leigh Sherringham started the School’s first big band, ‘Brass Razoo’, which has been a top class band now for over 20 years, playing for many school and social events. Mr Sherringham has assisted on overseas music tours as well as camps. He has worked on sound and lighting for many musical productions. He has now been on the NGS full-time staff for 16 years. Mr Sherringham is married to Nicole, who he met when she was a flute teacher at the School. They have three children. Mr Sherringham is a member of the Australia Army Band Newcastle and is also the musical director of a New Orleans band called ‘The Rehab Brass Band’.

When her boys were at NGS, Evanne started teaching piano at the School, then became Chapel Organist at the Cathedral. She taught piano and played every week for Chapel services for seven years, before being appointed Director of Music in 1986 (she played at Chapel for a total of 21 years altogether).

When Evanne was a student at CEGGS, Mrs Elizabeth Howard taught music. Evanne took over from Elizabeth as the first full-time Director of Music. In this role, Mrs Sherringham set about growing the Music programme at NGS. This meant engaging several peripatetic teachers to cover strings, wind, piano and singing. The Music Department grew significantly, and when she retired there were three full time teachers, 14 instrumental teachers, several choirs, bands and an orchestra.

Mrs Sherringham ushered in a new era for Music at NGS, for which we are tremendously grateful.

“We presented a fully staged musical every year and I organised an overseas music tour every four years,” she said. “We have had many musical achievements and many talented students who have gone on to great things.”

“Newcastle Grammar has been continually connected with our family since 1952. I have been a student, a parent and then teacher and we are very proud to be part of the history of this great school.”

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