The Choir holiday was once again given a fulsome review in the local newspaper. Here is what was written:
The choir of Romsey Abbey have recently returned from a highly successful week singing at Southwell Minster in Englands smallest cathedral city. The Abbey choir, directed by Organist and Master of the Choristers Jeffrey Williams together with Assistant Organist Timothy Rogerson, were invited to return to Southwell for their annual singing holiday where they first sang the music for the Cathedral services four years ago.
The Dean of the Cathedral, The Very Revd David Leaning, welcomed the choir of sixteen boy choristers and eleven gentlemen, who provided moments of musical splendour combined with spiritual intensity during the course of the weekday choral Evensongs and fully choral Sunday services. The choir were joined by the Vicar of Romsey, Canon Neil Crawford-Jones, who was Precentor for the services in the Minster.
The weeks music contained a varied selection of wide ranging musical styles spanning plainsong to polyphony, as well as Nineteenth and Twentieth Century anthems and settings of the evening canticles for the traditional forces of boys and mens voices.
The Abbey choir were able to exploit the warm acoustic of the Minster by singing an Introit as part of each weekday service from the South Transept before processing to the more intimate surroundings of the vaulted Quire, separated from the Norman nave by a richly carved choir screen with the Organ filling the arch above.
There were many choral highlights throughout the week, with Jeffrey Williamss direction always ensuring the music fully interpreted the act of worship for which it was created. The Abbey choir responded throughout with a high level of musicality and with great sensitivity to the liturgical texts.
For example there was the powerful impact of the Te Deum sung to the Collegium Regale setting by Herbert Howells on the feast day of St Bartholomew the Apostle. The daily singing of the psalms produced many contrasting moments, particularly at the Friday Evensong for Mens voices. Palestrinas Missa brevis with Merbeckes Creed and Pater Noster perfectly complemented the Sunday sung Eucharist from The Book of Common Prayer. Finally, Samuel Sebastian Wesleys fine anthem Blessed be the God and Father, sung at the concluding Sunday Evensong, where the words Love one another with a pure heart fervently were exquisitely crafted by the Abbey boys.
The choir received many genuinely appreciative comments during the week, encapsulated by the Dean at a reception for the Choir and Friends of the Abbey Choir, at which he presented Jeffrey Williams with a miniature reproduction of a Fifteenth Century Russian religious icon.
The choir and Friends of the Abbey Choir were accommodated at Bramcote Lorne School or in the vicinity. The party took the opportunity to visit nearby attractions and there were visits to the Seventeenth Century house and grounds of Bolsover Castle, the Heights of Abraham in the Derbyshire Peak District, the unusual gardens and surrounding Country Park of the Earth Centre near Doncaster and the recently restored Victorian Workhouse near Southwell itself. The National Tramway Museum at Crich, with a replica of a typical tramway street enabling rides to be made on vintage trams, and the award winning Newark Air Museum completed the organized visits.
The new choir term began on Sunday 1 September, when a selection of the music from Southwell was sung during the Sung Eucharist and at Choral Evensong.
The Choir at the High Altar with the Dean of Southwell, the
Very Rev. David Leaning (left) and the Vicar (right)