On 12 July, Robert Fielding conducted the choir for his final Sunday services. In the morning he chose Harold Darke’s ever-popular Communion Service in F, coupled with Elgar’s Coronation Offertory, O hearken Thou. He also contributed a specially-composed responsorial setting of Psalm 24, which featured repeated question from the boys, Who is the King of Glory? answered by a resounding response from the congregation, The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory. These have been among his many contributions to worship at the Abbey.
In the evening, Oliver Corbett sang the taxing treble solo with confidence in the Magnificat from Charles Villiers Stanford’s Evening Service in G, whilst Jon Sketchley’s baritone solo in the Nunc Dimittis was haunting. The choir accompanied them both with sensitivity. The chosen anthem was Herbert Howells’ setting of the Jubilate Deo composed for King’s College, Cambridge; Adrian Taylor also enjoyed a brief solo, deploying the tuba stop during the final bars.
Robert received no less than three presentations: a bottle of whisky at the end of the Sung Eucharist; a book of photos from his decade of service with the choir during Evensong and, at an informal reception organised by the Friends of the choir, a framed print of the Abbey, china tableware and wine, along with a card signed by all the members of the choir and other well-wishers. It was a day he will long remember
• We also said farewell to Simon Grant, who is leaving us to take up a year’s Choral Scholarship at Truro Cathedral before university. Simon has been a member of the choir for most of Robert’s tenure, joining as a probationer a decade ago, rising to the rank of Head Chorister in 2009 and then joining the back row as a baritone. He has also gained experience by singing with Salisbury Cathedral Choir and the National Youth Choir. We wish Simon well as he too moves on to pastures new.