Learning and leading

Edward Gower on his time with the Choir

When I visited the Williams household back in the autumn of 1995, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for(!); a few notes and scales later and I was in the Abbey Choir. At first there wasnt a lot for me to contribute towards the singing: maybe a few notes from the hymns and parts from the Lords Prayer but as the time went on, the more I could sing and the more I contributed. Ironically, it was from Alistair Koller that I gained confidence and the will to become a full member of the choir when I was on his folder in my first year, and in 1996, I earned my surplice. After that, it all happened very quickly!

Before I knew it, I was on a corner with a medal around my neck and Nicholas Mc.Quitty by my side, the first real test of responsibility (and patience too) that I had in the choir. (Sorry Nick!) After that it was a steady climb through the hierarchy of the choir, achieving senior chorister when Christopher Hammond and Paul Hewett retired. That was when the front row of the choir was really thrown in at the deep end. It was my first real chance to prove myself and it was my first experience of being one of the leaders. However there was plenty of time for fun as well, especially our trip to Holland in May of 2000. Amongst the bicycles, tulips and Edam cheese, the Choir of Romsey Abbey of Hampshire set out for a weekend of concerts, singing, hard work and, of course, football! This trip was a great success and one of the highlights from my singing career.

The Choristers process into Chester Cathedral

This year, we visited Chester Cathedral for what would be my last Choir Singing holiday as one of the boys. It was a great week but it was also showed me that my voice was on the way out; and it was the middle notes that went first. I managed to make it through the week but now Im not able to contribute as much as some of the younger boys and its time they had a chance at leading the others.

Recently, the offer for Head Chorister was open to Sam Stollery and I; Sam was the more suitable candidate for it and so he joined Steven in the middle. Although I was a little disappointed, it has by no means spoiled my last few weeks here and I feel a little relieved without the pressure of singing solos. My voice is restricting the quality of my singing a lot now and I feel that this, schoolwork and the school play rehearsals are telling me its time to leave the choir after six and a bit years of service.

I would just like to finish by thanking Jeff for the singing, leadership and people skills that will stay with me for the rest of my life and Im sure will help me in later life as well. I would also like to thank everyone that has helped me through my life in the choir including my family and the older boys that helped me when I had joined.