We said goodbye to Rina this week, with a morning tea after Mass. She was very generous in leaving us a card, and a present of a batik wall hanging. She was always a happy and radiant presence in the choir. She went out in style as she, and all the choir, sang very well this week.
As it turns out, we also said goodbye to Robert. There were no announcements, but last Sunday was his to be last time in charge of the choir. He will not be here this week, and David Trott, our organist, will fill in as choir master. And from next week, the new music director will take over who, we have just found out, will be William!
William McElwee has been a member of the choir, off and on, for many years. His dad, Ian, is also a long-standing member of the choir. It is a sign of the strength of the choir, and its ability to nurture the musical traditions of the Church, that the new choir master has come out of the choir, just as Robert was once a singing student of Max Fernie.
It was Max who established the Gregorian chant tradition in the choir, a tradition which has been continued and developed by Robert, the Dean Martin of chant. William has also got a strong background in Chant, and has studied Latin. Like Max and Robert, he is also a very talented singing teacher. William has a very precise and technical understanding of vocal production, and a talent for saying what needs to be said, and no more. These skills will be very useful leading a choir such as ours, which has a quick turnover of repertoire, and which caters to all-comers of very varied talent.