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Spring Greetings from John Hall (2020)

Updated: Feb 9, 2021


Considering the dangers of the 2020 Course as the Corona Virus moved towards Venice, and the remarkable morale of the students, the assistance of Patrizia and our other Venice helpers and Vicky in London, and above all Charlie Hall in bringing all our students, at the last moment, safely to England, we feel it is appropriate to record this unique event. Charlie was in contact with all the parents and students more or less every day, keeping them up to date with the steadily changing situation. Details of the story and the regular information sent by Charlie to all parents up to their arrival back in England will be included in the next updated version of our A Venice Record 1965- 2020. As we were compelled to leave Italy rather suddenly, some of the students from this year’s course who were booked on the Florence and Rome extensions will be able to return next year to complete what they missed. We look forward to seeing them again, together with their brothers, sisters, cousins and friends and many new alumni. On the occasion of the 9/11 disaster in the United States, we expected that our 5 Americans booked for Venice would cancel but in fact, we finished with 19 Americans! We hope to meet a similar enthusiastic intake on the 2021 Venice Course.

Here are some wonderful comments I received from some of this year’s students: “I really cannot thank you enough for creating the opportunity of this course, I have learnt so much academically and personally and will be making sure that my brother and my friends are lucky enough to share this amazing experience.” “Without you creating this brilliant course, I would not have found great friends, continued and extended my cultural education, and been gifted a love for Venice which I know I will never lose. For this, your wise and insightful conversations in Venice, and the lovely drinks at the Schiavi, I am truly thankful. For the time being I hope these words re-assure you that, regardless of being cut short or riddled with coronavirus panic, the John Hall Venice Course was again extremely successful and loved by all. I know I will return to Venice whenever I can, and have already planned to go next year!”

Please do listen to this fabulous piece of music which includes a lovely moment moving through Rome, Florence and Venice:

I would also like to share with you my good-bye message to the 2020 students:

None of us will ever forget the 2020 Venice Course – our fifty-seventh! Beautiful weather. Brilliant lecturers. Excellent students. And then, later on, the darkening advance of the Coronavirus, which at the end, made it impossible for me to say good-bye to you all, for which I was very sad. I am sure that you all will have appreciated the incredibly hard work that Charlie has given, dealing with the constantly changing information and advice and keeping parents up to date with the situation. You were all fantastic in keeping up your buoyant morale! You will receive, in due course, a copy of the book A VENICE RECORD 1965-2015, which includes highly interesting and entertaining writings by alumni and lecturers over the years. If I had been able to say good-bye to you all, I would have repeated a former student’s comment, which I read to you on our first day in London: ‘The Course is about exposing you to new fields of interest. You are dipped into art history, architecture, music, world cinema, restoration, literature, some science, some current affairs….and left to ask questions to your selves while immersed in the incredible cultural environment of Venice.’ And finally from another of your predecessors: ‘What an impact the glorious weeks in Venice had on us all. It was a carefree, fascinating and incredibly happy time for us all, having recently left the rigours of endless exams for so long at school, and before the demanding rigours of university life. No-one who has gone on one of your courses has not left feeling refreshed, interested in things they knew nothings about before, with their minds expanded – and made many friends.’ On which happier note, thank you for coming on this year’s course, and thank you for joining me for prosecco in the Schiavi Bar, which I greatly enjoyed. I hope we will see you all soon, perhaps at one of our JHV reunion parties in London or when you all organise a great reunion in Venice in the future. And please do keep sending your brothers, sisters and friends on our future courses! Warmest good wishes, keep safe and well and please keep in touch. John


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