One School, Two Songs
By Menin Rodrigues
We have been so busy with our shenanigans over the years that we have
lost track of own history and in that melee made a mess of things for
future generations. Of the many good things that have been a part of the
rich history of the archdiocese of Karachi – most so remote and lost in
time – that tracing its origin and facts has become very difficult if
Can history be distorted just because we cannot find the facts? There
are several such issues that we need to look into before we nurture a
generation of people who will have no clue and access to the “what,
when, where and how” of our existence – quite uncertain in the present
circumstances. But that predicament is another story.
I have been living in St. Lawrence’s now for 32 years and in close
proximity of the church which also houses the parish school – the St.
Lawrence’s Boys’ School. Every morning precisely at 7.30 a.m. and just
in time at breakfast, it’s always been a soulful experience listening to
the proceedings of the school’s morning assembly. It begins with the
Morning Prayer: “Dear God…” then the National Anthem, a few words from
the Principal and off they go to their classrooms.
However, since a few months now, I have been listening to an additional
tune and song, which I assumed was the school’s song. At first, I
thought the boys were practicing for a special occasion but later
realizing that it was an every day affair, it was safe to believe that
it was the school song indeed.
Curious as ever to find the historical background of the beautiful song,
I started to probe into its lyrics, music and the author. My first and
obvious choice was the school’s well-known ‘old-boy’ Desmond Vas who is
also a seasoned musician. “So Des”, as I call him, “Have you studied in
St. Lawrence’s all through?” and prompt came his reply: “All 10 years,
our principal was Fr. Joshua”. My next question: “You know your school
song?” And again promptly he started singing the Chorus of ‘his School
“Dear St. Lawrence’s School we shall love thee; with a love that will
never fail; though the tide of years may roll; our true love will
The tune was indeed catchy and smooth BUT both the words and music were
not the one that I was listening into every morning! “Are you sure,
that’s your school song? I queried. “Why, is there another one? It can’t
be, that’s the only one I know, and its 100% our old school song; who
can forget their school song…” said a surprised Desmond.
Two sets of ‘old students’ cannot have allegiance to two different
‘official’ songs of the same Alma Mater. The school must clarify and
rectify this important historical fact.
PEOPLE CONCERNED WITH THIS ARTICLE AND WHO SHARED THEIR OPINIONS:
Tessa Hogerwaard, Richard d Souza, Freddie Nazareth, Penelope Douaud,
Antonia Freeman, Everard de Souza and Derek de Souza.
HI DICKY & DEREK (Feb 4, 2011): This brings back such wonderful
memories of Mummy's awesome talents as a teacher and musician! Her
composition of the St, Lawrence's Boys school anthem won the UNESCO
(United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) prize
as an original composition - melody and words, unlike many others that
were words set to existing familiar music. I still remember the words
and melody, having heard it through the years as a child, and more
recently at a Laurentians' picnic at a Conservation Park in Mississauga
a few years ago, when a number of ex-St. Lawrence's Boys broke out into
a spontaneous, rousing chorus of that song. Derek was among them, I
think! WOW - what a feeling that was! I wish I could see / hear the
attachment mentioned in Menin Rodrigues' email below - does anyone have
it to send to Emerine de Souza's family? - TESSA
HI DEREK (Feb 4, 2011): Yes - I am so proud to affirm that it was
my mother, Emerine who wrote the lyrics and com- posed the music to the
St. Lawrence's Boys School Song. I'll also have all of you know that
this song won 1st. Prize at a competition organized under the auspices
of the local chapter of the United Nations. I can still remember my
mother coming home with the trophy which later reposed proudly at St.
Lawrence's Boys School. Mummy died in November 2009 at the magnificent
age of 97 but her rich legacy of her achievements live on in her oil
paintings and crafts, two of which won awards at the CNE in Toronto.
When she migrated to Canada in 1969 (I think), the Christian Voice ran a
very touching and meaningful article which recognized her worth to our
Christian community in Karachi. And her award winning school song is yet
just another jewel in her crowning glory of her lifetime. Is my chest
pounding with pride and joy? You're darn tooting right it is. And thank
you for helping me relive the best of what Emerine de Souza meant to all
of her children and friends all over. Take care, buddy! - DICKY
FREDDIE (Feb 4, 2011): The song that Desmond Vaz alluded to, in
the article was written by the late Emerine D'Souza , Dicky's mum; who
taught at the school. I have copied him since he can perhaps, elaborate
more on this point. The questions of the "other song" - Who wrote it ?
What are the words? When was it first used? And what is the tune like?
Anyway, thanks for filling me in. - DEREK
HI TESSA (Feb 4, 2011): I've JUST sent Dicky a message saying
that I was practically sure Mummy was given a UNESCO Award, and you
confirm that, thank you!! I wasn't living with all of you then, because
I was married and we were all over the world in connection with
Raymond's overseas contracts but we used to visit you as often as
possible. I do remember the pride and joy we all felt when Mummy was
awarded that very impressive award! I too would love to receive Mummy's
words, I asked for them in my message to Dicky. Thank you, whoever does
know them, if you can forward them to me too! Best regards to all -
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