Wakefield Cathedral Old Choristers' Association


Questions for Andrew Reavons, Bass Lay Clerk


Where do you live and what do you do in your working life?

I live in Saddleworth and am Finance Director of a company in North Manchester that makes bits for oil rigs.


How do you fit in travelling and work in order to sing in the choir?

Good question! Fortunately my role at work enables me to be fairly flexible, and it’s not far from the M62. It’s the effect on time with my family that is more significant really.


Have you ever had to miss important services because of unforeseen travelling problems? Mr Moore would maintain that every service is important! He’s right in the sense that in general the lay clerks are only one to a part each side, so we struggle if anyone is missing without cover. The answer to the question is yes but fortunately very rarely, the motorway can be shocking but is seldom blocked.


As you live so far away, what do you do between Sunday services?

Since Evensong moved permanently to 3.30, I invariably stay in Wakefield. If I’m lucky one of my colleagues will invite me to his house for lunch; otherwise it’s the wall outside the top-class Kingfisher chippy in Durkar.


What was you background in singing before you joined the choir?

I sang at Bowdon Parish Church as a treble, and off-and-on into my thirties, interspersed with sessions in other local churches. After a few years out of church music altogether, I determined to be in a really good choir that would put sufficient demands on me to stop me from being a troublemaker. Fortunately Mr Bielby liked me and took me on.


How did you become a bass singer?

God certainly never intended me to be a tenor; that’s for certain! I used to be able to sing alto to a decent standard, but that was over 25 years ago.


What have been the highlights of your time in the choir?

Lots. I’m not a big fan of the triumphalist aspects of religion, so it’s the more low-key stuff that I get the most out of: a perfect Thursday Evensong, the Good Friday Liturgy, All Souls. Radio broadcasts are invariably a highlight; we’ve never done a duff one in my 20 years. The January 2006 one with Stewart in C sharp minor and Leighton O leave your sheep has probably been my favourite. I know that recording the soon-to-be-released CD of psalms for Priory bored a lot of the choir, but I really enjoyed it as I am a total anorak on the subject of Anglican Chant.


Do you see the rest of your singing career at Wakefield or would you like to move on to one of the old foundation cathedrals with a bigger commitment each week?

My answer would probably be different were I 30 years younger! I’m too old even to contemplate it, and in any case I don’t think any of the places that might consider me (and some of the ones that wouldn’t) are really any better than Wakefield. I dep at Bradford Cathedral a couple of times a month, which is quite enough additional commitment as it is.


June 2014