The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury, admitted his first new choristers to Salisbury Cathedral Choir at Evensong on Sunday 16 September.
Charlie Scammell and Benjamin Edger, who joined the choir as probationers in September 2017, were ‘bumped’ in time-honoured fashion along with Zeeshan Mahmud from Southsea, who only joined the choir at Easter this year. Zeeshan was promoted swiftly because he had already served as a chorister in another Cathedral.
No-one knows how the admission ceremony for new choristers came about but over the years hundreds of trebles have been ‘bumped’ after the formalities of Evensong. In keeping with this tradition, the newly admitted trio had their heads knocked on a special stone in the South Quire Aisle, whilst the rest of the choristers chanted a welcome. The Choir is part of a 900-year-old musical tradition at the Cathedral.
At the same service established choristers were promoted to senior positions within the 16-strong boys choir, with Bishop’s Chorister Archie Beardsall receiving his medallion from the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury. The Bishop’s Chorister is the most senior chorister in the boys choir, a position that brings with it considerable responsibility, providing a role model for younger choristers and being an exemplary singer.
Newly renamed this year, the role of Chancellor’s Chorister (previously Vestry Monitor) was taken up Thomas Valderamma. Thomas received his medallion from Canon Edward Probert, Canon Chancellor and Sub-Dean of Salisbury Cathedral. A third chorister, Sammy O’Brien, was promoted to Turner.
Addressing the three new senior choristers during the service Dean Nicholas Papadopulos said:
“May these medallions be a sign to you and to your fellow choristers of the work you do and the responsibilities you fulfil within this Cathedral. Through your ministry, may God be glorified and our worship of him be a daily delight.”
Speaking after the service David Halls, Director of Music at Salisbury Cathedral said:
“The Michaelmas term is always a challenging one, integrating the new voices into the choir. There’s lots of work to be done to get into shape for Christmas, one of our busiest times, and to train the choristers to work as a ‘team’. We have two big concerts in November and December to work towards, so we can’t afford to rest on our laurels.”
The first major performance for the choristers is on Saturday 10th November at 19.30, the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, when they are performing Benjamin Britten's epic War Requiem with Salisbury Musical Society, accompanied by Chelsea Opera Group Orchestra.
Soloists are Alwyn Mellor – soprano, Mark Wilde – tenor and Julien Van Mellaerts – baritone. David Halls, Director of Music conducts the concert, which is sponsored by I. N. Newman Ltd and Fawcetts LLP. Details can be found on the Cathedral website: https://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/events/salisbury-music-society-britten-war-requiem
The second major appearance is a performance of Handel’s ever popular Messiah on Saturday 15th December 2018 at 19:00 in the Cathedral. Salisbury Cathedral Choir is joined by the City of London Sinfonia and distinguished soloists – Katherine Watson, Anna Harvey, Andrew Kennedy and Matthew Brook under the baton of David Halls - for a what promised to be a very special performance and a perfect preparation Christmas.
Composed in 1741 and first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, Handel’s Messiah has become one of the best-known and most popular choral works. Pre-concert meals will be available, and drinks will be on sale in the interval. Further details and booking will be available on the Cathedral website shortly.
In the meantime, any child interested in joining the choir can come along to the Cathedral’s annual Be a Chorister for a Day event on Saturday 13 October. The experience is open to children from school years 2, 3 and 4 and will involve fun activities, a chance to explore the building and the opportunity to rehearse with the choristers and sing at Evensong.
To book a place at Be a Chorister For a Day download an application form from our website https://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/worship-music-cathedral-choirs/choir-recruitment or contact Kathy Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07979 378926