The annual ‘Be a Chorister for A Day’ event at Dean Close Preparatory School is always a fun one and offers the opportunity for boys aged 6-10 yrs who like singing, to come and experience a snapshot of chorister life with Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum.
This year’s was no different. Tuesday 13 November saw 8 apprehensive boys arrive, not quite sure what the day would hold. After being tempted by a delicious Anzac biscuit, off they went into an informal singing session with Mrs Bowen, ably supported by current choristers Tom, Benedict, Hugo and John, who were remembering their first chorister experience at the same event in previous years.
A mixture of singing, play time, buns for tea and a journey by bus to the Abbey ensued, culminating in a wonderful and uplifting Choral Evensong with the choristers and Lay Clerks of Schola Cantorum. Director of Choral Music, Simon Bell, had adapted the service to make it more accessible to the young and inexperienced visitors, and as a result, they were able to join in and sing a metrical version of the Magnificat, Song of Mary (Richard Shephard) and anthem God Be In My Head (Philip Wilby), both four-part harmonies, followed by a final hymn Immortal, invisible. The service was charged with energy and excitement at the boys’ achievement after only an hour of rehearsal, with many parents and friends attending and able to enjoy the wonderful sound of the Schola. On receipt of a Certificate of Participation from the Vicar of Tewkesbury, Rev’d Canon Paul Williams, the boys departed, relaxed, happy and full of chatter – a testament to the excellent and informative afternoon they had experienced.