Countess of Wessex at Mercers' Hall Reception
left to right: Johnny Robertson (Master Mercer) Philip Hesketh (Dean of Rochester) HRH The Countess of Wessex, Mike Aiken (Rochester Cathedral Trust Chairman)
On Tuesday 22nd February the Dean of Rochester, The Very Revd Dr Philip Hesketh, and the Chairman of Rochester Cathedral Trust, Mr Michael P Aiken MBE, welcomed their Royal Patron, Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex GCVO to a Reception which was hosted with the generous support of the Mercers’ Company at their Hall in Ironmonger Lane, London.
The reception was part of an ongoing series of fund raising events being held by The Cathedral Trust to develop new relationships with potential donors based in London.
The Cathedral’s new “Children’s Community Choir” was there to entertain the Countess and the guests and charmed everyone with their delightful singing. They were conducted by Claire Innes-Hopkins and accompanied by Cathedral Director of Music, Mr Scott Farrell. This new Choir is part of the Cathedral's outreach work to give the opportunity to any child in Medway who loves to sing to be able to join the Choir.
The guests were also entertained with a speech from Vice Patron, Dr David Starkey CBE, who amused all with his historical anecdotes yet still conveyed the need of Rochester Cathedral to those present.
Rochester Cathedral Trust is setting up a Music Endowment Fund so that the earnings accrued from it can ultimately pay the running costs of the ancient music tradition in the Cathedral, which costs £225,000 annually. The short term goal is to achieve an amount of £2 million which will be met by having each Chorister sponsored at £50,000 each. This money would be deposited in the Endowment Fund and the earnings accrued on it would be put towards the annual costs and the Endowment could remain intact in perpetuity. Each Choristership sponsor has a silver medal struck in their name the selected Chorister wears it at all services for the course of their life in the Choir. When they leave a new probationer is selected.
BBC Chorister of the Year!
The Cathedral is celebrating the outstanding success of two chorister pupils in the final of BBC Chorister of the Year 2016, broadcast on Wednesday 26th October on Radio 2.
Edward Hyde and Rupert Walker, were two of only four finalists amongst hundreds of entrants in this national competition after passing through two highly competitive judging rounds. Edward is Deputy Head Chorister of Rochester Cathedral and Rupert was Head Chorister last year. The choristers of Rochester Cathedral are educated at King’s Preparatory School, the oldest choir school in the world.
To have two of the finalists from one choir was exceptional and this achievement was crowned with Edward being this year’s winner after the final in Manchester Cathedral.
Rupert impressed the judges and audience with his excellent singing of the hymn, ‘I the Lord of Sea and Sky’ and the solo anthem from Handel’s Messiah ‘Come Unto Him’, receiving highly complementary remarks for his performance.
The star of the show though was Edward who sang ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ and ‘Be Thou My Vision’ to the setting by world-renowned composer Bob Chilcott. Edward’s singing was outstanding and he showed himself to be the consummate professional in his responses to interview questions from the host, Diane-Louise Jordan. After he was announced as BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2016 he sang a duet with the winner of the girl’s competition in the company of special guest singers, The Priests.
An exciting year lies ahead for Edward who is a member of the Junior Royal Academy of Music and the National Children’s Orchestra as well as being a Music Scholar at King’s. He thanked his singing coach, Mr Michael Jamieson-Smith and the Director of Music at Rochester Cathedral, Mr Scott Farrell, in his acceptance speech and clearly has a very bright future ahead!
The Dean of Rochester, the Very Rev Dr Philip Hesketh said:
I am delighted for Edward who truly deserved to win. To have two choristers in the final of this national competition is simply amazing, and it just shows the high standard at which our choristers are singing under Mr. Farrell. Well done, both Edward and Rupert the Cathedral community are very proud of you.
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