On the afternoon of July 19th, old choristers were once again welcomed to sing along with the Cathedral Choir. On what was a particularly hot day, walking into the calm coolness of the Cathedral for the Evensong rehearsal brought back many fond, and for some distant, memories.
Claire Innes-Hopkins who was recently appointed as Assistant Director of Music conducted us and our dusty voices were quickly brushed off with the efficient rehearsal.
We sung Stanford in C and Parry I was glad, both of which were great to sing again, and the girl choristers sounded truly wonderful.
Scott Farrell, Director of Music, certainly demonstrated the mighty Manders organ, and I must admit for me personally, it was a joy to sing with such a fine instrument so brought to life. The last time I heard the intro to I was glad I was rather nervous at my own wedding only 11 months ago!
Thank you also to the Old Choristers who came to listen and support.
Chairman, Chris Royall reflects:
For me the day was a trip down memory lane, beginning with a meeting in Garth house which was part of the music dept back in the sixties when I attended Kings.
Lunch on a baking hot day was in the Castle Club scene of many old choristers’ dinners and hosted by our oldest old chorister John Bradley who, when I said I was going to Cromer to visit my old choirmaster from St Stephens Chatham, Keith Miller, told me that they were exact contemporaries at school in the 1930s!
After a delicious a lunch we rehearsed in the slightly cooler cathedral where I found myself assuming the role of alto lay clerk again to help out Toby. I had sung as a lay clerk in 1969-70 before going to St. John’s Cambridge.
Old and present choristers mingled with lay clerks and organists to plan future events and we concluded that the day had been such an enjoyable experience it must be repeated next year.
The next time we meet will be the National Federation of Old Choristers weekend which we hope many Rochester old choristers will try and attend. Places are filling up quickly, so please do book now to avoid disappointment.
Thanks to Tim Royall for some of the photos. If any other old choristers would like to contribute their experience of the day, then do please email in.