Jubilee

Local boy to sing for the Queen

King’s School, Gloucester pupil and Cathedral Chorister, Sebastian Ferris, has been given an opportunity of a lifetime to sing for Her Majesty the Queen as part of the Diamond Jubilee Choir in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Following auditions held recently as part of a countrywide search, 10 year old Sebastian, who hails from Cheltenham, has been selected as one of only 41 children who will sing at the Diamond Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral on 5 June – the first such service since the reign of Queen Victoria.

Sebastian, who travelled to Exeter Cathedral for his audition, had to undertake a rigorous audition process with hundreds of children around the country performing Londonderry Air and Be Thou My Vision for the panel of judges.

He will now join the other 40 children who have been selected in rehearsals at St Pauls’ Cathedral to learn a brand new choral work by young British composer Will Todd.

This piece, The Call of Wisdom, with words by Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul’s, has been composed especially for the occasion.

During the service, which will be broadcast live in the UK and also seen in many other countries around the world, the Diamond Choir will join the choristers of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal for this unique performance.

Sebastian Ferris said:

“My singing is my life and when I found out I could be in the Diamond Choir I thought I’d better audition. When I found out I was singing for the Queen I was over the moon and thrilled with excitement. I hope this is the beginning of a long singing career – I would like that very much.

“I have been helped with my audition by Mr Partington (Director of Music at Gloucester Cathedral) and Mrs Burton (Music Teacher at The King’s School). I am most grateful for their support and the overall support of the School and the Cathedral.

“I am proud, excited and honoured to be given this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

His headmaster at King’s School, Alistair Macnaughton said:

“We are extremely delighted and tremendously proud of Sebastian. It is not easy being both a school pupil and a Cathedral chorister as it takes up a lot of their time but when you get selected for such an honour you can see how the work pays off.

“He continues a great tradition at the school of choristers and other pupils excelling in music – something that we are proud to continue.”

The Dean of Gloucester, the Very Revd Stephen Lake said:

“Well done to Sebastian! This shows the immense amount of time and commitment made by these young people who sing day by day in the Cathedral. I am proud that Gloucester is going to be represented so well by Sebastian.”

Sebastian will be following in the footsteps of many former pupils of The King’s School Gloucester whose musical talents have been recognised.

This year’s London Olympics will have a King’s School stamp on it as the Olympic stadium and other venues ring out the sounds of the Star Spangled Banner – a tune composed by former pupil John Stafford Smith. 16th century composer William Hayes and local born composer Ivor Gurney, all benefitted from a musical education at King’s and the Cathedral.

More recently the School has played a part in the education of composer Dr Richard Shepherd, highly-acclaimed music producer and engineer Andy Johns and conductor Edward Gardner.