Members of our Cathedral Choir are now taking a well-earned summer break and visiting choirs from the UK, China and the USA will joining us for services, concerts and recitals during July and August (see our Music List).
On Sunday (17 July 2016) the Cathedral bade farewell to some of the young people who have been at the heart of its musical life. Founding members of the Cathedral’s first girls’ choir and boys who have been choristers for the last five years were all in the limelight for the day that is traditionally known in the Canterbury Cathedral community as “Sob Sunday”. This is the day when the congregation, family and friends of the leaving choir members gather to say goodbye and thank you for their contribution to cathedral music.
The five girls – Saskia Jamieson Bibb, Poppy Braddy, Ffion Green, Ellen Spurling and Laura Nicholson – have been members of the girls’ choir since its formation in 2013 and have sung at services and concerts, including at Clare College, Cambridge, Merton College, Oxford and Rochester and Westminster Cathedrals. Under the directorship of Cathedral assistant organist, Dr David Newsholme they sang in front of the Her Majesty the Queen in March 2015 when the royal statues were unveiled and were involved in recording the CD – Henry Purcell Sacred Music – which was released earlier this year.
Former lay clerk remembered
One of their final contributions to Canterbury Cathedral music was on Sunday when they sang at the morning Eucharist service at which an orchestra also played.
The Cathedral’s Director of Music Dr David Flood said: “Our former senior lay clerk Duncan Perkins, who sang with the Cathedral Choir for more than 30 years and who sadly died in 2014, left some money, amongst a number of gifts to the Cathedral Choir, with the specific request of a liturgical Mass with small orchestra. We fulfilled this on Sunday, when the orchestra – largely made up from choir parents both current and former and also some recent ex-choristers played.”
Boys, Henry Bersey, Frankie Shepley and James Press and , sang at their last service as chorister members of the Cathedral choir on Sunday afternoon. With Freddie Rupp, who could not be there on Sunday, they have all been choristers at the Cathedral since the age of eight where they have lived in Choir House in the Cathedral Precincts and attended St Edmund’s Junior School in Canterbury during term-time.
With the choir the four have sung in many hundreds of services during their years, performed in countless concerts and enjoyed tours to America and Norway. Their voices have been recorded for a CD of Evensong music and on a new CD to be released later this year.
Dr Flood added: “To be a chorister is a major commitment for our boys and we are always sorry when their time with us at Canterbury Cathedral comes to an end. But we hope that for them and for the first members of our girls’ choir we have provided an experience they will never forget and have set them on a course to develop further their musical ability.”