Diane Williams bids farewell to the Girls’ Choir

Hanging up the red waistcoat

Seems an eternity ago that three girls, sisters of Choristers at the time, said on a Choir holiday: ‘Di, why don’t you start a girls’ choir?’ I thought we might be treading on dangerous ground. Oh, my goodness, the Vicar, Jeff… who to approach to come and join our happy band…the boys wouldn’t welcome us wearing cassocks, so what do we wear…hen would we sing? Wow! [I must say we had a lot less fuss setting up our girls’ choir than Winchester Cathedral – and we’ve been singing longer. Romsey 1 – Winchester 0.]

One September evening in 1996, fifteen invited, prospective female choristers came to Winchester Road to audition [all passing with flying colours], had a ‘committee meeting’ and sorted out the uniform. From the 15 that started as the Romsey Abbey Girls’ Choir in October 1996, ten of the original group still remain, whilst our total number has risen to twenty-four.

We started singing for the first Sunday in the month, progressing to Harvest Suppers, concerts – Romsey Arts Festival, the NCH, Plaza Roof Appeal, the Youth Mission to South Rwenzori Concert – to deputizing for the Abbey Choir whilst they were on their trip in Holland, to Saturday Choral Evensongs, All Saints’ Choral Eucharist, to singing with the tenors and basses at Candlemas: a high spot in the calendar. The girls enjoy the weight underneath themfor a complete sound, of course!

The girls have grown so much in confidence over the past four-and-a-half years. They are a talented and loyal band of ‘chapesses’, attending rehearsals and events through thick and thin. This choir is very special to me because it has been my baby and I enjoy the companionship of the girls very much.

However, it is with some considerable regret that Good Friday will be me last service with them. I know they will keep in touch and I with them. I am sure they will continue their high standard of music making in the Abbey, and where ever else they might be invited, as ambassadors for Romsey, under the leadership of Daphne Lindsell who I am sure will spur them on further. Thank you to all of you for being who you are. I wish you well.