Singing in Westminster cathedral was such an amazing experience for me because I'd never sung in such an incredible place and it really encouraged both choirs to sing as loud and as beautifully as we could, just to hear the brilliant sound echoing around the domed ceiling. After travelling for a few hours on the coach, we walked up the steps to the cathedral and listened to the other choirs rehearsing before practicing our own songs. We began by singing 'O Holy Night', followed by 'The Christmas Bells', quickly running through both songs in the rehearsal time planned out for us. While singing through our songs, we all marvelled at the sound we produced which was enhanced by the amazing echoes and the long notes resounding around the large cathedral, and both choirs had huge amounts of fun participating in the event, which was a Christmas concert for the children's charity Barnardo's.
After a pre-ordered meal of our choice from a local Pizza Express, during which we sat and ate with our friends, we returned to the cathedral for the concert.
When the concert began, we were able to see and hear the performances from our rows of wooden chairs - on which we were seated in our performance order- whether they were another choir, a congregational carol or a reader, such as the celebrity guest, actress Catherine Parkinson, who read “Amazing Peace” by Maya Angelou as the rest of the cathedral listened in reflective silence. Some members of Cantores and Motet read from ‘The Wind in the Willows’. Over half way through the concert, the amazing Motet choir took their place at the front of the cathedral to perform “A Christmas Blessing” before we filed on, row by row, to sing our long-rehearsed version of “O Holy Night”. From right at the front, we had a view down the whole length of the cathedral, and its 2000 people. It was quite daunting at first to see the faces of everyone in the audience turned to us, but as the piano began to play we all turned our attention to Mr Pitts’ enthusiastic conducting.
The acoustics in the cathedral were exceptional, and it was quite a shock to hear our voices resonating in a way we had only heard before in rehearsal. After finishing our first song we went on to sing “The Christmas Bells” arranged specially for us by Mr Pitts, to which the audience responded with keen applause. Unfortunately, with only a couple of other choirs and one carol after us, the concert was soon over. However, I’m sure I speak for the whole choir when I say that this concert has been a unique musical and educational experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Kitty Andrews & Isabel Samuel