A Well Deserved Prize

by Gerry Lynch last modified 11 Jul, 2016 10:58 AM

Wiltshire choristers celebrate receiving Dean's Awards at Cathedral festival

A Well Deserved Prize

Photo (C) Ash Mills.

Choir members from St John’s, Devizes, were excited to be singing at the recent Diocesan Choral Festival in Salisbury Cathedral. Many choristers in this choir, with many younger members, received the Dean’s Chorister Award.

This was on top of a fun day singing with the other choirs from across the diocese at the festival service, conducted by Cathedral Director of Music David Halls in stunning surroundings.

“We had to prepare diligently for our Dean’s Chorister exam”, says St John’s chorister, Tessa Harrison, “Everyone chose a hymn, psalm and anthem. For my hymn I chose Be still for the presence of the Lord by David Evans because I already knew and liked it.

“Everyone prepared Psalm 121 to Anglican chant and we were asked what some of the signs meant and what key it was in.

“My anthem was Turn thy face from my sins by Thomas Attwood. I really like this anthem and my older sister, Belinda, sang the solo at church once, so she helped me prepare the piece. She also received her Dean’s Award and chose Simon Lindley’s Ave Maria as her anthem. We were asked about the mood of these anthems, as well as when in the church year we might sing them.

“We also had to talk about a festival in the church’s calendar. Most people chose Christmas as their festival, but two people chose Easter. A few days before our exam, we talked to our Rector, Canon Paul Richardson, about our chosen festival, and took notes on suitable pieces of music which could be sung at that time of year.  We were also asked some aural questions and had to do a bit of sight-singing, just like in most music exams.

“On the day, I was a bit nervous. After the first hymn, we all got up and stood in front of the Bishop and Dean and were then presented with our medals one by one.

“I was very excited as this was the first time I had worn a thick ribbon!  After the service, we all went to the east end of the cathedral to have our picture taken with the Bishop and the Dean.  My sister and I were beaming with delight and we were so excited to be with our friends, sharing this special achievement together.”

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