Our Choristers enjoy a varied and exciting schedule which includes tours, recordings, visits out and about, and Evensongs in Chichester Cathedral.
A Look Back at the Last Academic Year
The choir year began with the welcome of two new Choristers, two new probationers, three new lay vicars, and the organ scholar, Kyoko, who quickly became popular with children and staff, and proved herself to be an excellent organist. Our first excursion of the year was to St Mary's Church, Kemptown in Brighton, where we sang Evensong to an appreciative congregation and enjoyed a splendid tea afterwards. In October, we received the wonderful news that our former Head Chorister, Rafi Bellamy Plaice, had been crowned the BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year, the second Chichester boy to win the competition in recent years. His success was followed by a busy programme of engagements, culminating in a performance of Bernstein's Chichester Psalms at the Tanglewood Festival in Boston, USA, in July.
Returning from the Half Term break, a moving performance of Faure's Requiem complemented the annual All Souls commemoration, with the Advent procession following a few weeks later. At Chichester Festival Theatre, the Choristers sang five Christmas concerts to a combined audience of about 6,000 and a carol service broadcast live on BBC Surrey and Sussex was enjoyed by many thousands more.
Early in the New Year, two more Choristers and two new probationers were appointed, with the annual Choir Open Day generating fresh interest in the chorister life; the three youngest chorister year groups are now full, indicating a welcome boost to recruitment. The Lent Term also saw another parish visit, to Peacehaven in East Sussex, and two outreach events at which the Choristers led choirs of 400 primary school children.
After Easter, preparations for a CD recording began in earnest. The disc, entitled Lest We Forget, commemorates the end of the First World War a century ago, and has been released on the prestigious Signum label.
The Southern Cathedrals Festival, held this time in Salisbury, rounded off the year with some glorious music, including the Brahms German Requiem and three of J S Bach's virtuosic motets. The challenges of preparing such demanding music are always repaid by the excitement of performing with our colleagues from Salisbury and Winchester in front of capacity audiences. The final Sunday was, as always a time to celebrate the achievements of the past year, and we are very grateful to The Dean and Mrs Waine for their generous hospitality in hosting a wonderful lunch party, complete with water slide!
And with pride, gratitude and some sadness, we bade farewell to our two Year 8 Choristers as they left Chichester to take up scholarships at Lancing and at Portsmouth Grammar School.
Did you know Prebendal Choristers have won the highly-acclaimed BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year title not once but twice in recent years?! Rafi Bellamy Plaice won in 2017 and Isaac Waddington won in 2012.