Picture: The Dean with L-R Octavia Dawson, Anna Staines, Sophie Nicholls, Amelie Thrale, Lili Rashbrook, Zerlina Ross, Annenora Benians and Tammy Dobby - photo by Ash Mills
Chorister Annenora Benians from Heathfield, Sussex, was appointed Dean’s Chorister last Sunday (23 September) in a special Evensong at which new choristers were admitted and senior choristers appointed to key posts.
Becoming Dean’s Chorister is both an honour and a responsibility. As the most senior chorister in the girls choir, Annenora must serve as a role model to other choristers and perform to an exceptionally high standard.
She began singing in her local church before gaining a place at the Cathedral School and becoming a full chorister in 2016. As a probationer she was featured on the BBC’s One Show having her hair cut in the North Transept while TV celebrity and hairdresser Michael Douglas interviewed her!
Annenora received her Dean’s Chorister’s medallion from the Dean. Other choristers promoted at the same time were Zerlina Ross, who became Precentor’s Chorister, and Anna Staines, Sophie Nicholls, Tammy Dobby and Octavia Dawson, who all became Turners. Octavia started her choral career in the same Heathfield Church as Annenora, which has a very active junior section.
Two probationer choristers, Amelie Thrale and Lili Rashbrook, were admitted to the choir on Sunday too, receiving their distinctive Sarum green tabards and being 'bumped' with a gigantic prayer book in the Trinity Chapel according to tradition.
Speaking after the service the Dean of Salisbury, The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos said:
“We are fortunate to have talented young musicians who are willing to make the commitment to the choir, ensuring that it maintains its exceptionally high standards. Life in the choir is fun and rewarding – but it is hard work. The girl choristers share daily Cathedral duties with the boys choir, on top of which they will be performing Britten’s War Requiem in November and Handel’s Messiah in December. So they have an exciting but challenging few months ahead of them – and that’s without factoring in the choir tour to Austria in 2019!”
Benjamin Britten's epic War Requiem will be performed in the Cathedral on Saturday 10th November at 19.30, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.
Salisbury Musical Society and choristers will be accompanied by the 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
Handel’s Messiah takes place just over a month later, on Saturday 15th December 2018 at 19:00 in the Cathedral. Salisbury Cathedral Choir and distinguished soloists, Katherine Watson, Anna Harvey, Andrew Kennedy and Matthew Brook will be accompanied by the City of London Sinfonia. David Halls will conduct. Booking will be available on the Cathedral website shortly.
BE A CHORISTER FOR A DAY
Chorister admissions and promotions are always followed closely by the annual Be a Chorister for a Day event, which marks the start of the recruitment season for the choir. 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.
Be a Chorister for a Day will take place on Saturday 13 October. Anyone wishing to book can download an application form from our website: https://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/worship-music-cathedral-choirs/choir-recruitment or contact Kathy Davies on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07979 378926