A LOCAL youth choir took their members to Norfolk, where they sang sea shanties, gospels and familiar favourites.

The Romsey Youth Choir left for Norfolk on Wednesday, July 7 for four days of sightseeing and singing.

Each year, the Romsey Youth Choir invites members to go on a trip to bring everyone together after a year of hard work and rehearsals.

This year, 28 members of the choir stayed in the seaside town of Sheringham, where they took part in cliff top walks, seal spotting and concerts.

Hampshire Chronicle: Romsey Youth Choir, cliff top walk in Sheringham.

On Thursday, the choir was invited to the RNLI station at Sheringham for a tour from one of the lifeboat men. While they were there, the team got a call, and the Romsey Youth Choir were able to witness the process from the call to being in the water.

It took seven and half minutes from the 999 call to launch. Fortunately, someone had mistaken a couple of mooring balls for people, but the RNLI workers reinforced to the young singers the importance of calling the lifeguard if they ever see signs of trouble- even if it results in a false alarm.

That evening the choir then performed a concert in St Peter’s Church, Sheringham with the Sheringham Shantymen, raising more than £600 for the RNLI.

Hampshire Chronicle: Romsey Youth Choir, concert in Norwich Cathedral.

Choir director, Marion Maxey said: “You could raise money for the RNLI in Romsey and we have done but it seemed particularly poignant that it was on the coast.

“The RNLI get the call and they come. They don’t get paid for it and they all have other day jobs.”

“We’ve done a lot of charity concerts, but it doesn’t always bring it to life, and this really brought it to life. We were so glad to be able to support them.

“The choir had great fun doing some joint numbers with the Shantymen and of course The Wellerman just had to be done, a really fabulous concert.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Romsey Youth Choir, tour to Norfolk.

Next, the Romsey Youth Choir performed a lunchtime concert in Norwich Cathedral. Surrounded by the audience the young choir sang Tibie Paiom by the Ukrainian composer Bortnianski. Following their performance, two Ukrainian refugees in the audience came up and thanked the group.

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During the afternoon, the local choristers then took part in a gospel workshop run by Megan Rawling who directs the Norwich Community Gospel Choir. Here the choir learned three new songs including Shackles and a version of the Irish Blessing which could feature in the group’s next concert in Romsey.

Norwich Community Gospel Choir accompanied the Romsey singers for a joint concert the following evening.

Marion added: “It’s lovely to go away and meet up with choirs. They get to meeting new people. The Shantymen and the gospel choir, there’s nothing like that in Romsey.

“I hope that they will get a sense of belonging to a choir. To be a member of a choir you have to be part of a team as well. And it’s not just on the stage it’s looking after each other when we’re on tour.

“As an adult it’s a real privilege to be with young people and do these sorts of things.”

Romsey Youth Choir concluded their trip with a stop on their way home at All Saints Church in Essex, where Marion and the choir’s accompanist Chris Maxey once got married.

Hampshire Chronicle: Romsey Youth Choir, tour to Norfolk.

Their conductor from the Havering Youth Choir, which the pair sang for as teenagers, came to the concert as well as other friends and family. The choir’s final performance was of a piece of music that Marion and Chris learned in their childhood choir. The piece, Simi Jadech, has since been adopted by the Romsey Youth Choir.

Romsey’s choir director said: “We use this piece as our way of singing thank you - at restaurants, on boat trips, our accommodation etc it has become a deeply rooted part of the choir and we have sung it all over Europe when we have been on tour.”

Romsey Youth Choir was formed in 2010, welcoming singers aged 11 to 18 to join the group for free. The group is now looking for new members ahead of the new season in September.

For more go to romseyyouthchoir.org.uk/.

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