IT WAS the Precentor's idea. Canon Tom Clammer (centre)
suggested that, for two consecutive evenings, he would give up
leading the congregation in evensong in Salisbury
Cathedral, and allow his place to be taken by the two deputy head
choristers, both aged 13, of the boys' and girls' choirs.
The head boy chorister gets his chance as Boy Bishop during the
Christmas season, when he delivers a "reflection" from the pulpit
and leads prayers. The head girl chorister plays a similar part at
the cathedral's patronal festival. But the deputies, when it comes
to singing, carry almost equal responsibility; so Canon Clammer
thought that Rosanna Wicks and Finnbar Blakey should have their big
moment before they left for their respective senior schools -
Rosanna to Lancing College, and Finnbar to Sherborne.
The Dean, the Very Revd June Osborne, and the Director of Music,
David Halls, readily agreed, and the dates were put in the diary.
"David prepared the children musically, and I prepared them
liturgically," Canon Clammer said. "They were astonishing. I knew
they would do the job competently, but actually they led with great
maturity and sensitivity in what was a very nerve-wracking
situation to put them in."
Rosanna found it "so weird, watching and hearing your own choir
sing rather than singing with them". Finnbar said: "We are so used
to seeing and hearing the Precentor do his job, but it was
completely different to experience it. Most of all I realised how
difficult the role is."