Reflecting on the June 2016 Evensong

There’s something timeless about Cathedral evensong.

Whatever madness is going on in the outside world, calmness reigns within the cathedral as it resonates with the glorious music that permeates evensong.

Last Saturday (the day after the Referendum result) eight RCOCA members joined the choir for the day. We met for a splendid lunch in the Conference Centre in the grounds of St Margaret’s House (with the Paddock looking magnificent) and then proceeded to the cathedral for a very short practice (just enough time to go through everything once) before evensong itself. Just like being a new chorister really: stand next to someone who knows it, concentrate like mad and hope for the best. And the best it was: lovely Tomkins responses (responding to the beautiful singing of the Organist!), 15 verses of Psalm 119 (with some challenging pointing), the magnificent Brewer in D Mag and Nunc and the beautiful Elgar anthem The Spirit of the Lord. All topped, tailed and accompanied by
some excellent organ playing.

A thoroughly enjoyable day – not just for the joy of making beautiful music with like-minded colleagues, but also for all memories that came flooding back.

David Holloway
Chorister 1955 – 1957

Old Chorister Christopher Gabbitas on singing with the King’s Singers at Rochester Cathedral

Since joining The King’s Singers in 2004 I’ve been fortunate to sing in many of the world’s great music venues, but the concerts that remain with me are always those where there is aChristopher Gabbitas clear personal connection. Whether it’s family ties (my wife is from Kentucky so anything in that state is always special) or a particularly favourite venue (The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam takes some beating) some places rise above the every-day performance.

I sang as a chorister in Rochester Cathedral from 1987-1992, under the direction of Barry Ferguson, but haven’t sung in the Cathedral for nearly 20 years. The chance to return with The King’s Singers and perform in the building where, for me, it all began, is something I’ve hoped for ever since I started in the group. Rochester has nurtured some amazing musicians over the centuries, since the choir school taught its first chorister back in 604 AD.

It’s always good to close the circle, and returning this year in the company of so many distinguished fellow choristers from across the UK will be a wonderful way to return. Every member of The King’s Singers trained as a chorister in a cathedral or school choir, and we owe our success to the incredible foundation that the English Choral Tradition gives to the boys and girls who sing in our world-class choirs, across the country. Performing a concert for other old choristers seems appropriate!

Christopher and the rest of the King’s Singers are performing on Friday, September 26th as part of the FCOCA weekend at Rochester.

Evensong with the RCOCA, Girl Choristers and Lay Clerks

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.Music list

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.

King’s Singers Concert on Sept 26th

Rochester Cathedral has just updated their site with the poster and ticket information for the King’s Singers concert on Sept 26th at Rochester Cathedral.

Many of you will already know about the concert as part of the Federation Festival which will be at Rochester that weekend.

Christopher GabbitasIt is a particular pleasure to have the King’s Singers at Rochester as our very own OC Christopher Gabbitas has been a member of the group since 2004. He will no doubt thoroughly enjoy singing  in the building again, and it will also be a great opportunity to catch up with him and hear about his adventures with such a fine vocal group.

 

 

Member update June 2014

We have just published our 2014 Member Update outlining the arrangements for evensong in July and the information pack for the Federation of Old Choristers festival weekend to be held on Rochester between the 26th of September and the 28th of September.

As mentioned earlier in the year we have been invited again to sing Evensong with the choir on the 19th July 2014.  After evensong we will have the association AGM followed by a BBQ.  Singing with the choir last year was a great experience for those involved and those who listened so singers and listeners alike are encouraged to come along.  So I can prepare the Assistant Director of Music and the caterers please complete the slip in the letter attached if you are interested in singing or coming to the BBQ after evensong.  Returns need to be made by the 4th July 2014.

The Federation Festival in September has been long in the planning.  The information pack is pretty self-explanatory but members should note that the dinner on the Saturday evening (27th September) will also be our annual dinner.  On that basis, members should return the booking form for the dinner as soon as possible as combining our numbers with the expected Federation numbers means places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Thanks,

Tom