One particular happy memory is of when Jonathan became a chorister.
When Jonathan was a young child, whenever anyone took him to Truro he always wanted to go into the Cathedral, and they would take him in; he loved the atmosphere and the architecture. When I took him to London once, we went in St. Paul’s Cathedral which he also liked.
We knew the head of Wells Cathedral School and went there for a trial audition for Wells Cathedral Choir; we were told he didn’t have to have been trained but they wanted to know whether he could sing in tune and was reasonably academically able. He passed the academic test but his singing was not deemed to be good enough by the choir master Andrew Nethsingha. But as it would have meant him boarding away at a young age it was quite a relief to us both.
Then Adrian saw an advertisement in the newspaper asking for choristers at Truro Cathedral and suggested that Jonathan might be a candidate for this. So we took Jonathan to evensong to give him an idea what it would involve. When it came to the audition he announced to us that he wanted to be head chorister like Olaf Schmid; I told him to wait and see how he got on. David Briggs, the choirmaster, said he looked for the glint in the eye of prospective choristers; I knew that Jonathan had a glint in both his eyes and so I was not surprised when he passed this audition. He certainly had a lovely voice and was bright enough to cope with the private Polwhele School to which the choristers went.
After a few years it came to the moment when Jonathan might become the head chorister. By this time Andrew Nethsingha, who had rejected him at Wells, had become the choirmaster at Truro. We were all delighted when the Dean asked Jonathan to be head chorister. Andrew admitted that he had underestimated Jonathan’s potential as a singer when he had first met him. Something we have all learned over the years that we should never do!
As it turned out, the choir went to sing in France. As I was ill I could not go with them but other mothers did go and said what a wonderful performance they gave. Afterwards Jonathan told me that he had said to the other choristers that they must sing their best, not for Mr. Nethsingha or to get a chocolate prize, but for themselves. These words clearly proved effective, as those mothers who went to France said how well they had sung.
When I was twelve I said to my friend that I wanted a child who was good at singing, as I had never been able to sing in tune. Jonathan fulfilled that hope. Jonathan has always aimed for the top. He was the only one of our four boys who was born early, which somehow encapsulates his get-up-and-go attitude to life. Of course we were proud of him, but we are also proud of our other three boys, Barnaby, Henry and Oscar. They have brought enormous joy and pride to us in their various enterprises, as well as many happy memories.
Mary Smith, 4 December