The Romsey Youth Choir tour Norfolk, raise funds and watch the RNLI at work
A LOCAL youth choir took its members to Norfolk, where they sang sea shanties, gospels and familiar favourites.
The Romsey Youth Choir left for Norfolk on Wednesday July 7 for four days of touring and singing.
Every year, the Romsey Youth Choir invites its members on a journey to bring everyone together after a year of hard work and rehearsals.
This year, 28 members of the choir stayed in the seaside town of Sheringham, where they took part in clifftop walks, seal watching and concerts.
On Thursday, the choir was invited to Sheringham RNLI station for a tour of one of the lifeboats. While there the team received a call and the Romsey Youth Choir were able to witness the process from call to launch.
It took seven and a half minutes from the 999 call to launch. Luckily someone had mistaken a few mooring balls for people, but RNLI workers reminded the young singers of the importance of calling the lifeguard if they see any signs of trouble, even if it results in a false alert.
That evening the choir then performed at St Peter’s Church in Sheringham with the Sheringham Shantymen, raising over £600 for the RNLI.
Choir director Marion Maxey said: ‘You could fundraise for the RNLI in Romsey and we did, but it seemed particularly poignant that it was on the coast.
“The RNLI gets the call and they come. They don’t get paid for it and they all have other day jobs.
“We’ve done a lot of charity gigs, but it doesn’t always come alive, and it really brought it to life. We were so happy to be able to support them.
“The choir had a lot of fun doing joint numbers with the Shantymen and of course The Wellerman had to be done, a truly fabulous gig.”
Afterwards, the Romsey Youth Choir performed a lunchtime concert in Norwich Cathedral. Surrounded by the audience, the young choir sang Tibie Paiom by the Ukrainian composer Bortnianski. After their performance, two Ukrainian refugees in the audience stood up and thanked the band.
READ MORE: Check out the 14-year-old Hampshire-based singer who caught the eye of West End production
During the afternoon, the local choir members then took part in a gospel workshop led by Megan Rawling who leads the Norwich Community Gospel Choir. Here the choir learned three new songs including Shackles and a version of the Irish Blessing which may feature in the band’s next gig in Romsey.
The Norwich Community Gospel Choir accompanied the singers from Romsey for a joint concert the following evening.
Marion adds: “It’s nice to meet the choirs. They get to meet new people. The Shantymen and the gospel choir, there’s nothing like it in Romsey.
“I hope they will have the feeling of belonging to a choir. To be a member of a choir, you must also be part of a team. And it’s not just on stage that you have to take care of each other when you’re on tour.
“As an adult, it’s a real privilege to be around young people and do this stuff.”
The Romsey Youth Choir concluded their journey with a stop on the way back to All Saints Church in Essex, where Marion and choir director Chris Maxey were once married.
Their bandleader from the Havering Youth Choir, for whom the couple sang as teenagers, came to the concert along with other family members and friends. The choir’s last performance was a piece of music that Marion and Chris had learned in their old youth choir. The piece, Simi Jadech, has since been adopted by the Romsey Youth Choir.
The Romsey Choir Director said: “We use this piece as our way of singing thank you – in restaurants, boat trips, our accommodation etc. it has become a deeply rooted part of the choir and we ‘ve sung all over Europe when we’ve been on tour.”
Romsey Youth Choir was formed in 2010, welcoming singers aged 11-18 to join the group for free. The group is now looking for new members ahead of the new season in September.
Find out more at romseyyouthchoir.org.uk/.
A message from the editor
Thanks for reading this article – we appreciate your support.
Subscription means you have unlimited access to the latest news and reader rewards – all with a lightweight advertising website.
Don’t take my word for it – subscribe here to see for yourself.
Looking to advertise an event? Then check out our free events guide.
Want to follow the news and participate in the debate? You can find and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.