Hymns can be a challenging subject for young

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

I can help Jeff Hadfield who wondered how teams from Oxbridge could show such musical ignorance on University Challenge (Yorkshire Post, September 8).

Interestingly, just before the questions which discomfited the contestants so spectacularly, my wife and I had remarked on the astonishing general knowledge displayed by the teams, even by the programme’s elevated standards.

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However, the average age of the teams was about 20 and we recalled that at that age we probably didn’t know our Arne from our Elgar.

We knew the hymns in our youth because we sang them in school assembly, a pleasure which was perhaps not available to these young people growing up in a more secular age, especially if they didn’t go to church.

As for classical music, the average age of Radio 3, Classic FM and concert audiences must be well over 60, so they will perhaps grow into it.

Another factor is the huge cultural impact of pop 
music which has become respectable over the years: a fact which still escapes Jeremy Paxman.

From: Stuart Schofield, Scholes, Cleckheaton.

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IT should come as no surprise that the students on University Challenge had difficulty in identifying hymns. I think there is a simple explanation. Since the demise of school assemblies where hymns used to be sung, and the watering-down of Christian teaching, it is pretty obvious that anyone who has not been to Sunday School, or a church service will not know any hymns.

From: John Gordon, Whitcliffe Lane, Ripon.

I, TOO, was surprised that the well-known hymns were not recognised on University Challenge. but also gratified for they were the only questions on the programme that I could answer.

I put it down to a daily 
grammar school assembly 
when we sang lustily Bread of Heaven etc. and reminded the Lord to prosper with His blessing the work of all universities, college and schools.

I knew it would come in useful at some time.