Blackburn chorister bids for treble chance

This Is Lancashire: William Fielding has three weeks of intense rehearsals, services and carol singing ahead William Fielding has three weeks of intense rehearsals, services and carol singing ahead

ALL William Fielding wants for Christmas is… to hang on to his treble voice.

Because William is head chorister in Blackburn Cathedral Choir and at the age of 14 is very fortunate still to be singing when most at his age have had their voices break.

But William now has three weeks of intense rehearsals, choral services and carol singing to negotiate leading up to the Christmas crunch and the big worry is – can his voice stand the strain?

As Cathedral director of music, Samuel Hudson put it: “December is one of the most intense months for any chorister, but also one of the most rewarding and enjoyable.

“For William, and other choristers approaching the point of voice change, the challenge will be to keep some energy and voice in store for the large services and events towards the end of the month.”

William, a student at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, in Blackburn, is determined to beat the threatened voice break and carry on singing until Easter – or even longer if he possibly can.

His dad, Paul, who also sings in the men’s section of the choir, said: “He hasn’t had any noticeable change in his voice yet and he’d like to go on singing until the summer.”

If William’s voice does hold out, he will defy the predictions of a scientific survey earlier this year which found that boys’ voices were changing earlier than they were two decades ago.

The study by Liverpool University put the blame for early adolescence on a number of factors including a richer diet than twenty years ago.

William, who lives with his parents in Pleckgate, comes from a musical family with associations with Blackburn Cathedral going back to the early 20th Century. His grandfather sang in the choir as did two of his uncles. His mother, Rachel, also performs as a soprano in the Renaissance Singers.

William started singing in the choir at the age of six and his first solo was at a concert known as the Christmas Spectacular in 2005.

He has performed in every Spectacular since then and will be in the line-up this year on Saturday, December 14. The cathedral choirs will be joined by 50 local schoolchildren and the Northern Chamber Orchestra.

A special feature of the concert will be a performance of Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony Of Carols to mark the centenary of the English composer’s birth along with many Christmas favourites.

Tickets from £5 can be obtained from King George’s Hall Box Office in person or on 0844 847 1664.


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