There is an unhealthy arrogance to the statement ‘no-one understands what I’m going through’! Rarely can it truly be said. And yet, there are occasions when it is true. And perhaps it is true of a Chorister. Miles began boarding when he was 7, and at 12 is now in his final year. His day starts at 7am with music practice, because he can’t fit it in later. He (and up to 20 other boys, some as young as 6) go to song school in the Cathedral from 8-9am. Then they start school.
Usually they have the same commitments to extra curricular activities as other kids in the lunch hour, and the same homework. Except on Friday when they have to go to song school in the lunch hour. They finish school at 4pm and go straight over to the Cathedral for song school and Evensong, 3 days a week. Many have extra commitments after school on the two week days they have off, including music theory and confirmation classes. Tea is at 6.30 followed by prep, music practice for second instruments, and showers.
Are you feeling tired yet? I haven’t even begun to describe the weekends – song school, at least 4 services, and the deep need for some fun, and some recuperation. So why does no-one understand? Because no-one lives in their shoes. Who follows them from the boarding house to the Cathedral? Who follows them from the Cathedral straight into school? Every community they are part of, school, boarding house and Cathedral, cares deeply for their welfare, and does a great job protecting their time from unfair demands. But no-one actually follows them from one place to another, putting energy and commitment into learning new music, leading worship, doing school work, and growing up.
No-one understands, because I don’t think many grown ups could stand the pace. It is simply too demanding. No wonder the Choristers stick together and have such loyalty to one another. They do something amazing, and probably will never do anything like it again. Teachers, Cathedral clergy and musicians, house-carers in the boarding house, even parents, don’t understand. But we do stand in awe and admiration for what the Choristers do.