Cathedral Choir member three years on.
In December of 2006, at the age of seven years old, I made my first journey to Saint Philip’s Cathedral in the city centre. As I got out the car I remember feeling terrified by the huge, looming building which stood in front of me, it didn’t cross my mind that this was a place where I would be offered the most incredible opportunities over the next five years and would make some of my most fond memories. Now, at the age of sixteen, over eight years since I began singing in the choir, I’m still massively grateful to the people and the music that taught me so much.
The pieces and the people I’ve been able to work with have made a huge difference in my life, as they opened my eyes to music and taught me to love music. This is something that many people don’t have the privilege of being offered. Working with some of the best musicians I have ever met such as Canon Marcus Huxley, Stuart Nicholson, Tim Harper and many others at such a young age means that the advice that they gave me still stays with me today as I continue to appreciate and to play music regularly, and these skills are invaluable. Looking back at it now, my time in the cathedral choir was one of the best educations I could hope for. And what’s more, I was being paid for it!
I think one of the highlights of my time in choir was the numerous concerts that we used to sing in. I sang pieces such as Parry’s “I was Glad” in front of huge audiences and congregations and “the Ceremony of Carols” in front of the Mayor of Birmingham. The opportunities that we were given were so great that it became a normal thing for us to sing the Messiah the whole way through in front of 200 people at the age of nine, I think that’s something that only a chorister can say!
The venues that we sang at were also incredible, for example, by the age of thirteen many of us had sung in the Town Hall, Salisbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral and many, many more. We were taken to some of these places on residential tours that happened at least once every two years and sometimes even more. These tours were examples of when the choir not only increased our knowledge and experience from a musical point of view, but I also made many great friends when I was in the choir, I met people who I will almost certainly remember for my whole life.
My time in Saint Philip’s Cathedral Choir taught me skills and techniques and gave me performance confidence that I still use on an almost daily basis, three years after having left. I am forever grateful to those who gave me that opportunity and that experience and I wish that everyone was as lucky as I was to be in the Cathedral Choir.