~ Friends’ Day – End of the Choir Year 2010 ~

Friends Day2Friends Day3Friends Day1 The end of the Choir year finally arrived on Sunday, 11th July, blessed with sunny skies and tables of contented friends enjoying the occasion.  It was a time to look back over what had been achieved and look forward to a well earned summer break.

The day began without many surprises – rehearsal at 9am followed by Mass in the Abbey Church.  This is always an opportunity for the Choir to flex its vocal muscles for one last time, and they surely did that on Friends Day.  The music for the Mass included Vierne’s dramatic Messe Solennelle, which blew away any remaining cobwebs in the Abbey Church!  A French theme continued for the rest of the Mass with two pieces by Marcel Dupré, his Laudate  Dominum (a favourite of the boys during their tour to France) and O Salutaris Hostia at Communion.

There appeared no reluctance from anyone at the end of Mass in throwing off the surplices and cassocks.  It was a hot day and everyone was quite pleased to make their way over to the Cloisters where some cool and refreshing drinks awaited.

This year’s Friends Day reception was made all the more delicious by a Hog Roast, which gently simmered away whilst everyone enjoyed their drinks under the sun.  The tempting smells from the Hog Roast soon proved too much, however, and we were all lining up to get our pound of meat.  I must confess – I have never seen such a large pig.  There was plenty to go round and no one was left disappointed – except the poor pig!

It was then time to say some farewells and a few ‘thank yous’.  We were particularly sad to say farewell to Ms. Stockland, who has been invaluable in her role as singing teacher to the boys.  She goes now on to great things at the ENO but we hope it is only au revoir and we will see her at many Friends events.  There were also many people to thank, not least Mrs Mill “who”, as Chris Eastwood remarked, “can easily be overlooked but has been the one to keep my head on my shoulders.  We cannot thank her enough for her continued commitment and service to the Choir, particularly the boys”.  It was also fitting for Bruce King on behalf of the Parents to thank our wonderful Director, Chris Eastwood, for “his vision, leadership and hard-work”.  It was a pleasant day for everyone and a memorable way to end the year. Well done everyone!