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Published: 06 May 2016

In aid of Friends of Cathedral Music's Diamond Fund for Choristers

I am the Friends of Cathedral Music Scholar and was lucky to be chosen to represent Ely at St Paul's Cathedral. When I got back from the Easter holidays I got a big folder of music and was told that it was for me going to St Paul's. I was relieved that I had sung almost everything before. It included my favourite piece, Zadok The Priest. Mr Aldhouse (the Cathedral Assistant Organist) and I spent a bit of time during rehearsals to learn the new piece which was commissioned for the concert. At school I spent some time revising all the pieces with my singing teacher, Mr North, like the Tippet, A Child of Our Time.

On Tuesday my dad and I set off with my robe and music on the train. We booked into the hotel and then went to find the church where we were practising. We were all told to find somewhere to sit, then we were sorted out into decani and cantoris, I went on decani. The rehearsal was all afternoon until 7pm and we sang all the music. The sound was massive and it was quite an experience to sing with so many people. The next day after a good night's sleep we had the morning off to explore part of London, I went to the Churchill Cabinet War Rooms. We had to report to St Paul's at 1:45pm where we got seated on the stage and had a smaller rehearsal with the organ. After the rehearsal we went up to the whispering gallery and had a look around. I made friends with one of the St Paul's Choristers and had a go on the main organ playing the introduction to Zadok with the organist. After tea we went down to choir school in the crypt to get robed up. There was a rainbow of colours. The concert started at 7:30pm, I was on the front row. The cathedral was packed and it was amazing. One of the best pieces was the Miserere mei because the different parts were sung from different parts of the cathedral. I liked the two speeches by Alexander Armstrong and Aled Jones. John Rutter was in the audience so at the end as an encore, we sang his Gaelic Blessing. I had a fantastic time and I will never forget it.

Thomas Allen