A Wimborne man has celebrated 60 years of singing in Wimborne Minster Choir.
When Jonathan Hiscock joined in November 1961, there were 20 boys and 10 men making up the choir. They rehearsed after school in Church House on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a full choir practice inside the Minster on Friday evenings.
In those days there were three choral services every Sunday with the boys being let out before the sermon at Matins. The choirmaster/organist at the time was David Blott and the vicar was the Rev Stanley Epps.
In shades reminiscent of the current time, the main organ was out of use and awaiting replacement so a small chamber pipe organ was being used in its place. Boys were paid by seniority, attendance and behaviour. They had four Sundays off in August, otherwise they sang almost every Sunday throughout the year and on Good Friday and Christmas Day. They had an annual trip to the pantomime in Bournemouth Pavilion and an occasional football and cricket match against Sherborne Abbey choristers followed by tea and Choral Evensong. Jonathan became head chorister for two or three years before moving into the back row first as a bass, then a tenor.
Jonathan recalls attending the opening recital by Francis Jackson (York Minster) on the new 1965 organ and his signature is on the programme.
Jonathan has served under two vicars and five rectors, six choirmasters and a similar number of assistants. He has taken part in two live service television broadcasts including Christmas Day 1973 plus BBC Songs of Praise in 1990 and also some live and recorded radio programmes.
The experience at the Minster has brought him many opportunities elsewhere with other choirs.
Choir training helped him develop the love of music, musical ability and a good ear. He has sung several times at Westminster Abbey and at 17 different cathedrals including St Paul’s Cathedral, York Minster and the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral. He hopes to sing at an 18th cathedral next summer.
At the family Eucharist Service on Remembrance Sunday Jonathan was publicly thanked for all his service over the years and the rector, the Rev Canon Andrew Rowland, presented him with a specially designed certificate recording his 60 years of service. Churchwarden, Peter Cook, presented him with an engraved decanter together with a card containing messages of congratulation from present and past colleagues. He was then saluted by the gentlemen of the choir with a touching tribute set to the tune of ‘Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar’.
Jonathan, who was born in the town and still lives there, attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar in Wimborne. He is also a Minster bellringer.
Married to Di, they have two musical daughters – one a freelance woodwind player and the other a woodwind service and repair technician.
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