We enjoyed a successful visit this week to Hereford Cathedral, where we sang for three services of Choral Evensong. Although the weather was rather cool and blustery at times, we received a very warm welcome from the clergy. In saying goodbye at the end of our final service, the cathedral’s Canon Chancellor Chris Pullin invited us to return.
Our musical offering included settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by two Twentieth Century composers with Hampshire connections: Percy Whitlock, organist of St. Stephen’s Bournemouth; and George Dyson, who taught at Winchester College. Oliver Corbett sang the treble solo in the latter with both confidence and sensitivity.
The anthems ranged widely in style, from Sir Edward Elgar’s early setting of the Ave Maria, through John Joubert’s austere setting of a prayer by Henry VIII, O Lord the maker of al thing, to the sublime, unaccompanied Abendlied by the Liechtenstein-born Josef Rheinberger.
Whilst hours of practice went into the music, that’s not the whole story: the boys enjoyed a visit to a cider museum, the Mappa Mundi exhibition and, in particular, go-karting at Hampshire Raceway. James Garland successfully defended his crown among the choristers; Andrew Wainwright did likewise in the adult races.
We stayed at the Royal National College and enjoyed first-class accommodation and catering. Tea and biscuits provided by the cathedral in its refectory before each service was also greatly appreciated.
Robert Fielding comments, ‘Our visit to Wells has been a great experience for the boys. They sang all of the music really well, including a demanding series of Psalms. Adrian Taylor played the cathedral’s magnificent organ very well. I look forward to building on this experience back in Romsey’.
The Vicar agrees: ‘As I saw when I visited the choir in Hereford myself, they had a great time and got a lot from the experience. The boys and men are fine ambassadors for of Romsey and the Abbey.
Choral Services at the Abbey resume in early September. We currently have vacancies for boy choristers; please call Robert Fielding on 0787 944 3060 or email email@example.com to arrange an audition.