On Sunday 14 June Romsey Abbey Choir was joined by choristers from St. Peter’s Church, Bournemouth, to sing for a service to mark the 50th anniversary of the twinning of Romsey and Paimpol in Brittany. The first visit by boys from Bournemouth, it was arranged by their Director of Music, David Coram, who was Assistant Organist at the Abbey until last summer. Along with his wife, Alice, he has been busy over the last few months rebuilding the Bournemouth choir after it had suffered a sharp decline in membership.
The service itself marked the end of a weekend of festivities and was attended by a large congregation. The Reverend Tim Sledge, Vicar of Romsey, and the Reverend Jill Aussant conducted the service in both English and French. Lessons were read by Mike Bull and M. Patrick Forget, chairmen of the respective twinning associations.
The music also united the best of England and France: the Nunc Dimittis from the Evening Service in C by Charles Villiers Stanford and the motet Ubi caritas et amor by Maurice Duruflé .
Robert Fielding commented afterwards: ‘This is the first time that many of the boys from Bournemouth have sung with another choir. They enjoyed the experience and the Abbey Choir looks forward to paying a return visit in due course’.