Eggs Well-Earned!

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The choristers took part in their annual Egg Hunt in glorious sunshine after their final service on Easter Sunday afternoon. Following evensong they were released into the Camery Garden to track down their Easter treats; and they certainly deserved them after a week of wonderful singing and exceptionally hard work - twelve sung services over the course of Holy Week, all filled with the most wonderful and inspiring music.

The week began on Palm Sunday with the first performance of Philip Wilby’s An English Passion According to St Matthew. The choristers did themselves proud, as did the whole choir. Particular mention must go to the four Vicars Choral who sang the main solo roles - Matthew Minter, Stephen Harvey, Craig Bissex and Christopher Shekdrake. They were joined by Head Girl Chorister, Erin who sang a number of challenging solos in her role as Narrator. Congratulations also to the other choristers who took the other smaller but crucial solo roles: Cecilia, George, Ross, Madeline, Miranda, James, and Sophie. It was an exciting and moving performance and one that was much appreciated by the composer who was in attendance.

The choristers pictured with composer, Philip Wilby (centre), Canon Richard Cooper who assembled the work’s text, and Assistant Organist, Jeremy Cole who conducted the premiere performance

The choristers pictured with composer, Philip Wilby (centre), Canon Richard Cooper who assembled the work’s text, and Assistant Organist, Jeremy Cole who conducted the premiere performance

The choristers who took the various solo roles, pictured with Jeremy Cole and Philip Wilby

The choristers who took the various solo roles, pictured with Jeremy Cole and Philip Wilby

There were many other musical highlights as the week progressed but perhaps the most mentioned of all by members of the congregation was Finzi’s Lo, the Full Final Sacrifice which the choir sang during the Three Hour Devotion on Good Friday. It was an exquisite and deeply moving rendition of this wonderful work.

The week culminated in Easter Sunday’s three services and the choir delivered glorious performances of Mozart’s Coronation Mass, the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah, Elgar’s colossal settings of the Te Deum and Benedictus, Howell’s St Paul’s Service, and Stanford’s wonderful Easter anthem, Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem. It’s no wonder that the choristers were ready for some chocolate confection after all that!

It was heartening to hear that attendance at the Easter services was up again this year and more people than ever experienced the wonderful singing of our Cathedral Choir. Congratulations once again to them all and to their conductor, Jeremy Cole, and to the organists for the week, Dr David Bednall and Senior Organ Scholar, Harrison Cole.

It should also be mentioned that it hadn’t been a week of all work and no play: as well as Sunday’s Egg Hunt, following the services on Good Friday, the choristers were treated to a Film & Pizza Night at St John’s Church, Glastonbury, courtesy of the vicar there who also happens to be a Chorister Parent!