CHOIR REPORT 2015 - 2016
A chorister parent made me laugh recently when she said “well, of course Christmas ends for our family in February”. This was not a complaint, what she meant of course was the choir could not be released from their singing duties until the Court Visit ended. With Easter being early this year it has been an exciting, rewarding and very busy few months in preparing music at a rapid rate more or less straight after Christmas for all the different services in our group of churches and I am most grateful for the support of the adult choir members, choristers, probationers, parents and the Rector Jonathan Riviere.
There are always musical highlights that stand out and one of them is the Good Friday Service at Hillington Church where the choir music is always beautiful and deeply moving with the underlying text. The acoustics of the church are good, similarly at Castle Rising Church, making particularly enjoyable buildings for sound. However, with rigorous chorister vocal training (the success of which is reflected in their examinations results) the excellence of their weekly singing at Sandringham where there is hardly any acoustic shows that when they sound good in a church with very little acoustic a more resonant building creates an even more exciting sound.
The whole choir very much enjoyed singing at the Christening of Princess Charlotte at Sandringham Church which was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby on July 5th 2015. Apart from the choir the service was held in private with members of the royal family and their friends. It was a special moment for the choir and one never to have happened before to be processing out at the end of the service passing the Queen, and the future three Kings, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George
During 2015 – 2016 chorister recruitment has continued. I often think the choir is like a wheel, perpetually turning and the person in charge of the choir turns the wheel continually. Choristers are recruited and the expectation that they will stay and develop as musicians and grow as they pursue their Christian journey. Some of course, are not always able to make the heavy demands of the singing duties but this happens only rarely, more often it is that they move away to another area. It is not only the choristers who gain so much from the discipline, duty and service that singing in a choir with challenging music can bring. It is also the parents, many of whom see the advantages being a chorister brings to their children. One parent told me recently how their daughter had improved in her academic school work as her concentration had improved since joining the choir. Another parent said to me, “sorry I didn’t come with my daughter to Evensong this Sunday. I had to catch up with the ironing, but I listened to hymns on the radio – a thing I would never had done four years ago before she joined”
Congratulations go to Grace Owen who has been awarded a Choral Scholarship to the Girls’ Cathedral Choir at Ely Cathedral. Competition was very hard with 11 candidates auditioning for only 4 places. She will take up her place in September 2016 and we wish her all the very best and thank her for all she has done as a chorister here at Sandringham.
The choristers continue to make good progress with their instrumental and singing studies and the following achieved success this academic year in the Royal School’s of Music Associated Board Grade Examinations.
Initial Grade Singing Clementine Abel-Plant (Distinction)
Grade 1 Singing Ruby Turner-Smith (Merit)
Grade 1 Singing Georgina Abel-Plant (Distinction)
Grade 3 Singing Mia Underwood
Grade 3 Keyboard Aaron Pradeep (Distinction)
Grade 4 Trumpet Grace Owen
Grade 4 Keyboard Tabitha Pradeep (Distinction)
Grade 4 Singing Megan Pledger (Distinction)
Grade 5 Singing Grace Owen (Merit)
Grade 5 Singing Megan Pledger (Distinction)
Grade 6 Singing Faye Thompsett (Distinction)
Grade 7 Violin Rhianna Cambell –Cann
Claire E. Stewart (Director of Music)