John Hullah
A Song for Mr Hullah

Mr Hullah, Mr Hullah, the vowels of your name proclaim
their hurrah for old sweet songs that once echoed strong
through the classrooms and halls of our everyday schools.

Mr Hullah, Mr Hullah, save us from these days when karaoke
rules the waves. Teach us again to sing Alleluia, Val-de-ree Val-de-ra,
Fol-da-ree, Tra-la-la and Viva la Musica! Viva la Musica!

Oh Mr Hullah, Mr Hullah, who taught do, re, mi, fa
and mi, fa, soh, la, you believed every child has the voice
of a songbird – not just the fiddling, fee-paying few.

Annie Fisher

 *John Hullah (1812 – 84) was a composer and music teacher best remembered for his ‘singing school for schoolmasters’ which he directed at London’s Exeter Hall in the 1840s. Although his use of the French fixed sol-fa system was later superseded by Curwen’s tonic solfa approach, his work with trainee teachers, with the support of James Kay-Shuttleworth, embedded music firmly in the school curriculum of his day.

If you have any comments on this poem,  Annie Fisher would be pleased to hear from you.