It was with quite a lot of nostalgia that I watched the programme on BBC4 about the Choir of Salisbury Cathedral. Shot in the Cathedral and the Close it reminded me of the two very happy years we spent in Salisbury in the 80’s when I was at Salisbury and Wells Theological College. During each academic year we spent one term worshipping daily in the Cathedral for Mass and silent meditation. On Ascension Day the College Choir sang Evensong. It was my joy to accompany them on the Cathedral Organ also to play for a Save the Children Fund Service.
It had always been a dream of mine to play the organ of Salisbury Cathedral. When I was quite young, around 9 or 10, my parents took me to the Cathedral for a visit. Somehow or another we found ourselves in the Cathedral as it started to fill up for a wedding. Not wishing to cause any problems we quietly sat in the chairs and then the organ started up. Well!!!! Up until then I had never experienced a sound like it and I became determined to learn to play the organ.
Shortly after we left Salisbury to begin my curacy, the Cathedral started a Girls Choir which has, over the years, gone from strength to strength. My daughter, a teenager then, desperately wanted to sing in the Cathedral and had the chance as part of the College Choir.
On one Palm Sunday the College went to the Palm Sunday Procession which began in the cloister with children dressed up and one poor little mite sitting on a donkey. All went well until we arrived in the Cathedral singing “All glory, laud and honour.” Suddenly the organ started with mighty great chords and the donkey bolted, straight up the aisle towards the high Altar, with the child hanging on precariously and a verger or two pursing it, eventually catching it. It was hilarious.
Both Ann and I look back on our days in Salisbury with great affection; we were so happy there – Salisbury is a lovely place to live and the Cathedral a wonderful place to worship although normally we went to St. Martins where Father Giles made us so welcome and really encouraged us.