Romsey Abbey Choir won the appreciation of clergy and congregation at Peterborough Cathedral, where it sang at services during the week preceding the August Bank Holiday. At a drinks reception given in the choir’s honour, the Dean of the cathedral, Canon Charles Taylor, remarked that it was one of the best visiting choirs they had entertained for some time.
Its musical offering included two works composed for Peterborough Cathedral, a setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Peter Aston and the Preces and Responses by John Sanders. Alongside these were anthems including Edgar Bainton’s sublime And I saw a new Heaven, Percy Whitlock’s rarely performed O living bread and, one of the real highlights, Thomas Tallis simple yet powerful motet O nata lux. The final work they sang was the Collegium Regale setting of the Jubilate Deo by Herbert Howells, last performed at the Abbey during the Civic Charter service attended by Her Majesty the Queen in June.
But it wasn’t all about singing. The choir, accompanied by a number of supporters, stayed together at Peterborough High School. The party enjoyed a ride on the Nene Valley steam railway and a cruise around Rutland Water, as well as an evening of ten-pin bowling.
A boisterous game of rounders on the final afternoon – boys against all the adults – followed by a prize-giving made a fitting end to a very successful week.
Robert Fielding, Director of Music, comments, ‘Tthe choir worked very hard producing some excellent singing in this wonderful building and both men and boys deserve much credit for their commitment.
‘We were made very welcome by Cathedral staff and clergy, and thoroughly enjoyed both the singing and the social events laid on for us by trip organiser Dick Hewett.’
The choir has now returned to the Abbey, singing each Sunday at the 10 am Eucharist and 6.30 pm Evensong. Its next social event is a Cream Tea, being held from 3 to 4.30 pm on Sunday 9 September at the Abbey School, to raise funds for a visit to Rome in 2009.
The choir at the high altar in Peterborough Cathedral