A lifelong passion for music - Interview with Mrs. J. Oxley
Amidst the usual after work customers in a coffee shop in Landmark, we waited with anticipation for Mrs. Oxley to arrive. The moment we greeted each other, it was like yesterday when she was still our music teacher and we were back in our uniforms as DGS girls.
Our conversation began with our enquiry about Mrs. Oxley’s career path after her retirement from DGS in , having taught at our alma mater for sixteen years. In her unmistakably lively manner, Mrs. Oxley updated us on what has been happening to her since then. After leaving DGS in 1997 Mrs. Oxley went back to the U.K. for six months. She then returned to Hong Kong and resumed teaching as a music teacher at Mary Mount Secondary School for three years. She is currently teaching music at Bauhinia ESF School in Lai King.
So when and why did Mrs. Oxley first come to Hong Kong? As we found out, it was in 1966 when she came to marry her husband whom she met in the U.K. And how did Mrs. Oxley come to teach at DGS? Incidentally, while Mrs. Oxley was employed as a ‘supply’ music teacher at the ESF, Mrs. Crosby (former music teacher at DGS) approached her one day and asked if she would like to be a ‘substitute’ music teacher at DGS while she was away. Mrs. Oxley accepted the invitation and gradually became a full-time teacher at DGS after Mrs. Crosby retired.
Among the memorable events that occurred during her career at DGS, Mrs. Oxley remembers vividly the weekly choir and orchestra practices and musical productions such as ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘The King and I’. As Mrs. Oxley recalls, ‘Our girls used to win a lot of entries at the Music Festivals and I’m sure they still do.’
Mrs. Oxley particularly liked the morning assemblies because it was an occasion to gather everyone together for hymns and prayers before classes began. As it turned out, the blue hymn book that has been used over the years was first put together by Mrs. Hurst, Mrs. Collier and Mrs. Oxley herself.
Over the years, having been exposed to students from different backgrounds and different schools, Mrs. Oxley has found that DGS girls have the unique quality of being well-rounded and being eager to participate in almost everything. By the time they get to universities, DGS girls are able to offer a lot more than just academic excellence.
Mrs. Oxley greatly enjoyed her time teaching at DGS. She had no discipline problems with our girls as most of them enjoyed music and singing. She considers herself lucky to be able to have a job that she likes as a hobby as she used to sing in choirs and played in orchestras in her early years.
One of the valuable lessons that she learnt during her career was patience. Mrs. Oxley also learnt to set high standards by always being well-polished, well-prepared and well-rehearsed.
Mrs. Oxley keeps in touch with previous teachers who taught at DGS with her including Ms. Clark and Mrs. Hurst, who are both residing in the U.K. She is also in contact with some old girls and still remembers some old faces and names, especially those who are or who have been in the musical field such as Susie Wong, Carol Yu, Jane Ng, Jacqueline Leung, Elizabeth Lo and Genevieve Wong.
Mrs. Oxley has four sons, three living in Hong Kong and one in the U.K. She is a grandmother of four and plans to retire this year. Will music still be part of her life after that? Definitely!