As I approach my final few weeks here in Truro as the cathedral’s assistant director of music, I can’t help but experience an extraordinary mix of emotions.
Of course, the twilight of any stage of life comes with a sense of apprehension about the future and sadness at the leaving behind of people, activities and routines. I am moving on to a freelance career as a singer and organist, working (hopefully!) with lots of different groups of people in the manner of a ‘whirlwind’. Not being part of a community that works together every day will be a big change for me, having been part of an institution of some kind for as long as I have made music.
However, I am extremely excited about the future. Much of my time will be taken up with The Gesualdo Six, a group which is widely referred to as an upcoming vocal consort, but to me is first and foremost a wonderful group of friends together with whom I am lucky to do what we love doing for a living. The fact that the group is successful, and its future is bright, is a real stroke of good fortune and I am delighted to now be able to join them on exciting worldwide adventures.
That being said, I will be deeply sad to leave Truro behind. In particular, I will miss playing the Father Willis organ which is near-certain to be the finest I will ever be honoured to call my ‘home’ instrument. It is very hard to emphasise enough how lucky Truro Cathedral is to have such an amazing roster of young musicians who are all on a seemingly never-ending curve of improvement (and have been for many years). It is as inspiring to see how far the girl choristers have come in four years since their introduction as it is to see the boy choristers develop more and more as they grow older and their voices blossom. I will hugely miss working with them each morning and evening, and I wish them all heartfelt well wishes for their futures.
You are also extremely lucky here to have such a fine group of adult professional singers. Our choral scholarship scheme is now firmly established as one of the very top such schemes of its kind, and that is down to many things, principle among which is the quality of singing led by the Lay Vicars, and indeed the social atmosphere. I have had so many fun occasions with these people, we all probably single-handedly sustain Truro’s Nepalese/Indian food industry, not to mention a healthy share in Mr Skinner's profits…
It only remains for me to thank you all for making my time here such a joy. I would also like to thank my immediate colleagues at the cathedral, the clergy and office staff – the things I have learnt from working with you all are simply unquantifiable. Above all, my extraordinary ‘tour de force’ of a colleague, Chris – you have been and will continue to be a profound inspiration to me, and a great friend.
Joseph's final service at the cathedral will be Sunday 7 July.
All welcome to Joseph's free lunchtime organ recital at the cathedral on 5 July - visit our What's On page to find out more
Joseph's last concert directing St Mary's Singers will be held at St Michael's church in Newquay. Visit the CRBO Website to find out more.