Late chorister celebrated in music and memory
Pleased to be invited by his parents, the Abbey Choir was present in force for the Memorial Service of George O’Brien on 12 November. Members wished to pay a musical tribute to George, who had contributed so much to it during his life, cut sadly short by a sudden illness.
The choir sang a number of George’s favourite anthems including Stanford’s Magnificat in C and Balfour Gardiner’s Evening Hymn. The boys gave a moving account of Howard Goodall’s setting of Psalm 23, more popularly known as the theme to The Vicar of Dibley. George sang it many times at weddings as a chorister.
The nave of Romsey Abbey was also packed. His family was joined by George’s friends from Romsey School and Peter Symonds College, the Scouts and Romsey Amateur Schools Orchestra (RASO), who played a couple of his favourite pieces.
In a moving eulogy, his father Joe noted that ‘George didn’t spend very long on this earth in the great scheme of things but managed to touch more people’s hearts in his seventeen years than most people manage to do in eighty. He was, like his brother Henry, a very special person.’
George once commented to a friend: ‘When I sing, I sing for God’. He and his haunting voice will be sorely missed by all his friends in the Abbey Choir – and far beyond.