By Finlay Martin
I remember sitting in the Year 3 classroom at Romsey Abbey School, letters had been given out about joining the Romsey Abbey Choir but I hadn’t picked one up because I wasn’t 100% sure. When a message came to the classroom that the people wishing to join the Choir should go to the music room one of my friends Sean Patterson stood up to go; my teacher Mrs Howard asked if anyone who would maybe just like to try it would like to go with Sean, so I stood up and along with some others went up to the audition with him. After the audition, Mr Fielding asked me if I would like to join and I said yes. I wonder how my life would be different if my teacher hadn’t asked if anyone else wanted to go and I hadn’t joined the Choir.
I joined the Choir after Easter in 2004 when I was 7. On my first practice I stood on Dec but in the following years I have only ever done one service on Dec, in the rest I have been on Can. In my six years I have been on a number of different folders with lots of different choristers, finally finishing on Can 3 as Head Chorister.
Lots of my memories of the Choir are from Choir holidays. I have been on 5 Choir holidays, my first being Ripon. I remember playing a massive game of ‘gang it’ in and around a castle and the ‘Midnight feast’ in which I lost most of my sweets playing cheat. At the 2006 Choir holiday in Norwich I remember when some of the boys were playing tennis and someone hit the ball high over the fence surrounding the court, David Hole ran after the ball and in his attempt to jump in the air to catch it tripped over some tape between several traffic cones and went flying, I laughed so much my stomach hurt.
I have sung loads of different music at the Abbey and have many favourite pieces. These include the Messe Solenelle by Louis Vierne, I Saw the Lord by John Stainer and I Was Glad by Hubert Parry. I will always remember having the honour of singing the opening solo to The Lord Is My Shepherd at George O’Brien’s memorial service.
The Queen coming to Romsey is something I’ll never forget: having to arrive at the Abbey early in the morning to get through the security check and the fanfare trumpets that made a fantastic sound.
I became Head Chorister in Exeter Choir Holiday in 2008 after Henry O’Brien and Rob Newman moved to the back row. This meant that I was never Team Leader (closest to the pulpit); I instead went straight from being Senior Full Chorister to Head Chorister. I was officially made Head Chorister with James Taylor in September 2008.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the front row of the Choir and I hope to continue in the Choir on the back row as a choral scholar.