With Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock about to arrive in Auckland, Richard Betts talks to Thomas Hamill, a teacher who took a failing school music department and turned it into Britain's best.

There are days that make you question your life choices. Thomas Hamill recalls the time one of his teenaged pupils flipped over a desk, barricaded himself in a classroom cabinet and started screaming racist insults.

"We had school visitors that day, too," says Hamill, "and they were walking around while this kid's hollering anti-Semitic slurs in a cupboard."

Hamill, director of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's education and outreach

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