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Oxford Street lights
         
Trafalgar Square   St Paul's Cathedral at night   St Paul's Cathedral
Evening sun on St Paul's Cathedral   St. Paul's Cathedral from Ludgate Hill   Symmetry

December 24th 2012

James

Happy Christmas!

As it promises to be a very wet holiday period I thought that it would be nice to get the boys to pick up their guitars and wish us all a merry Christmas from sunnier climes (in Spanish). They are a talented bunch!

 

The first three photographs today of the Oxford Street lights, Trafalgar Square and St. Paul's Cathedral at night were all taken by Joe Boultbee, a great friend and colleague. He tells me that he had to wait for hours in the freezing cold on Waterloo Bridge for the moon to move into just the right position above St. Paul's Cathedral and almost contracted pneumonia! What some people will do for their art.

 

 





 
Harry
         
Photo shoot over   The SPC Choristers   The SPC Choristers
The SPC Choristers   The SPC Choristers   The SPC Choristers

December 22nd 2012

James

Christmas at St Paul's Cathedral

Christmas is always an exciting time for choristers and their parents and it has been particularly so this year for us. It started last week when the choristers took part in a photo-shoot at the Cathedral. This is undoubtedly good fun for the choristers but there is never any guarantee that a single one of the photos will attract the attention of the daily newspapers. Imagine our delight, therefore, when we were greeted the following day by some stunning photographs in the Telegraph, Times and Guardian as well as in on-line versions of the Wall Street Journal and NBCNews. The Reuter's photographer Andrew Winning has produced some particularly beautiful shots. This publicity was shortly followed by an editorial in the Daily Telegraph by Will Heaven, himself a former chorister, entitled 'God rest ye merry choristers (eventually)' in which Harry is mentioned by name.

On Thursday that same week, St. Paul's Cathedral put on 'A Celebration of Christmas', an annual carol concert at which, this year, Sue Lawley, Josephine Tewson and Robert Webb were the readers. This is always a beautiful service in an absolutely packed Cathedral and was all the more memorable for us as Harry sang the solo first verse of Once in Royal David's City. There is something quite magical and uplifting about this part of the concert as the lights dim, the Cathedral becomes completely silent and a lone treble voice fills the dome.

 

I should add that there was an additional reason why Mary found the evening even more memorable. We had decided to eat out close to the Cathedral immediately after the service and as we were leaving the restaurant she spotted Robert Webb (one of the readers but, more importantly, star of Peep Show!) at one of the tables. Without hesitation she strode up to him, introduced herself as the mother of a chorister and of three other sons all of whom loved his television show - forgetting to mention that she is a great fan as well - and asked for his autograph. To his credit, he was delightful and duly obliged. His signature is to be framed.

Last night the Cathedral treated us all to 'A Ceremony of Carols' by Benjamin Britten, an equally magical evening of pieces for upper voices and harp most beautifully sung by the choristers.

 

And we still have two more carol concerts, Christmas Eve midnight mass and Christmas Day services to look forward to......

 

 





 
The Soloists
         
Messiah Rehearsal   Messiah Rehearsal   Messiah Rehearsal
Messiah Rehearsal   Messiah Rehearsal   Harry's solo

December 8th 2012

James

Handel's Messiah

On Thursday, two days ago, St. Paul's Cathedral put on a performance of Handel's Messiah as part of their observance of Advent. In the seats reserved for the chorister parents in the dome there was an air of nervous excitement as the music began. The look of absolute calm on the faces of each of the five boys singing solos as they walked slowly to the front of the stage was not mirrored in those of their families, or the other chorister parents, who all appeared to be holding their breath throughout each faultless performance. Harry's confident smile immediately before his own solo will long last in my memory.

It was a quite marvellous evening and I am indebted to Clive Marriott, whose photographs taken with his phone of the soloists' rehearsals the day before, has allowed me to produce the slideshow below.

 

 

 





 
Happy 13th Birthday Harry
         
Harry's Birthday candles   Richmond Park November 2012   Richmond Park November 2012
Richmond Park November 2012   Richmond Park November 2012   Richmond Park November 2012

December 1st 2012

James

Happy Birthday Harry!

It was Harry's 13th birthday today. He was in such high spirits as he came home from the Cathedral for his usual short Saturday break and was clearly delighted to see that not only had Tom come home to see him but also that Alastair's rowing training had finished early; he could, therefore, get straight on with the important task of opening his birthday presents which he had no doubt would reflect his new maturity as a teenager. Imagine his face then, when his first present (from Tom) was an all-in-one - apparently called a 'onesie' - dinosaur suit. He put on a brave face as he was encouraged to put it on and pose for a few photos. I think that he now realises that he will always be considered the baby of the family whatever his age.

It is the beginning of the month so I have put another Wesley Roddie letter up on the site. This one is called, 'What is a gentleman?' and, like all his articles, makes delightful and thought-provoking reading. There is always at least one very non-PC statement within each of his letters and the prize this month must go to:

My mind is not made up – a somewhat feminine failing I must admit.

Had Ian, Mary's father (and Wesley's son), still been alive it would have been his 84th birthday today. I can clearly picture him having a little chuckle when reminded of his father's comments; he is still very much missed.

The other photos today are from a recent dawn trip to Richmond Park.

 

 





   
  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010