Youngest child to join choir in 20 years

IT'S a very English tradition and was once a rite of passage for boys, but today singing in the church choir tends to be a pastime reserved for those in their more senior years.

By JOSH WARWICK

josh.warwick@eveningstar.co.uk>

IT'S a very English tradition and was once a rite of passage for boys, but today singing in the church choir tends to be a pastime reserved for those in their more senior years.

But now, a nine-year-old boy from Ipswich has bucked the trend after joining the choir at St Augustine's - the first youngster to do so for more than two decades.


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Twice a week, Oliver Ransome shuns his games console, park kick-abouts and - not so begrudgingly - his homework, in favour of hitting the right notes at the Felixstowe Road church.

Despite his years, Oliver, of Foxglove Crescent, is no stranger to the world of choir singing.

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The St Margaret's Primary School pupil said: “I've been singing for about three years now and I really like it.

“I am in the choir at school and because I enjoy it, I thought I would join the choir at St Augustine's.

“Some of my friends don't think I should be in the choir but some are in the choir with me at school and they think it's a good idea.”

Mum Cathy said: “He's been going for about three weeks now and he really likes it.

“He recently took part in the Heaven to Earth project where the children recorded a DVD and a CD to raise money for third world countries.

“When Oliver's singing, he just enjoys himself and he's not nervous at all.”

Rob Welham, organist and St Augustine's Church choir master, spoke of his surprise at the youth of his new recruit.

He said: “As far as history tells us, Oliver is the first child to join in at least 20 years.

“We were rehearsing when all of a sudden a lady and a small boy arrived. At first, I thought they had come in to the wrong room, but when his mother said he was here to sing in the choir, I was amazed.

“He has sung at two services and he is very confident.

“We have one lady who is 80-years-old, I'm 69 and I think the average age of the choir must be at least 50, so to have someone so young is excellent.”

Do you have an unusual hobby? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Fast Facts: Choir Singing

Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates was once a choirboy. The heart throb started singing at a church in his hometown of Bradford.

Singer and broadcaster Aled Jones shot to fame as the choirboy who sung Walking in the Air in 1985.

Mercury music winners Antony and the Johnsons' front man Antony Hegarty started singing as a choirboy in Chichester.

Usually, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran choirs are composed of men and boys, but occasionally in these churches and in other Protestant churches men and women form the choir.

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