At the end of May, Romsey Abbey Choir visited Belgium to sing two concerts. The first took place in Blankenberge, a seaside town near Zeebrugge, and the other right in the heart of Brussels.
Conducted by the Abbey’s Director of Music, Robert Fielding, the choir sang music rang ing from motets by the Tudor composers William Byrd and Thomas Mudd to anthems from the present day; much of the music was unaccompanied. Two pieces that the audiences particularly appreciated were by Belgian composers: the St Joseph Mass by Flor Peeters and César Franck’s much loved Panis Angelicus. The choir was surprised yet delighted to be joined in Brussels by the Vicar of Romsey, the Rev. Tim Sledge. An experienced singer, the Vicar’s support was not just moral – he joined the basses to sing in the concert.
In addition to their singing engagements, the choir enjoyed a tour of the canals around Bruges, as well as a visit to a chocolate factory and a brewery. In Brussels, adults visited the iconic Atomium monument while the boys enjoyed thrills and spills at a nearby water park. The boys spent their final morning on the beach at Blankenberge competing against each other to build the best sandcastle.
Robert Fielding comments: ‘The choir produced some stunning performances and enjoyed singing in the two wonderful church buildings. We were made very welcome and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. I was very pleased and proud of the way our boys behaved and sang – they were a credit to Romsey Abbey.’
This article appeared in the Romsey Advertiser on 12 June 2009.