Chorister vows to sing on at King’s College Chapel

16 December 2010

by Rebecca Paveley

A MUSICAL prodigy, Alex Stobbs, hopes to defy his doctors to sing for the last time at the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, on Christmas Eve.

Mr Stobbs, who is 20, has cystic fibrosis, and his condition is rapidly worsening. He featured in a Bafta-nominated Channel 4 docu­mentary, A Boy Called Alex, in 2008, which earned him a worldwide following.

Mr Stobbs originally joined King’s College choir at the age of nine, and later won a music scholarship to Eton College. He returned when he won a place at Cambridge University.

His health has worsened, however, since he rejoined the choir, and his lungs are now operating at 38 per cent of their capacity. To keep going, he has to take 50 pills each day, and have oxygen overnight.

Mr Stobbs has spent the past three weeks in hospital, but he ignored his doctors’ advice last week to take part in the TV recording of Carols from King’s, which will be broadcast on BBC2 on Christmas Eve at 6.45 p.m. He says he also hopes to sing again for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is to be broadcast live at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve on Radio 4 (repeated on Radio 3 on Christmas Day at 2 p.m.).

Mr Stobbs said this week: “My lungs certainly aren’t what they were, and it’s a struggle to sing, but I manage. This will be my last year singing in the choir, and I’ll be very sad to leave, as it’s such a wonderful institution.”

His condition has made him partially deaf, and he also suffers from brittle bones. He uses a scooter to get around in Cambridge. He hopes to become a conductor when he graduates next year, and he already conducts a musical group called The Stobbs Scratch. His performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion was the subject of a follow-up Channel 4 documentary last year, Alex: A Passion for Life.

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