Music still the mainstay of St Ives choir singer’s life 60 years on

Peter Murrills. Peter Murrills.

Saturday, June 7, 2014
8:00 AM

In the year that Peter Murrills first joined the choir at All Saints’ Parish Church, Marilyn Monroe married baseball player Joe DiMaggio, food rationing in Britain came to an end and US officials announced that a hydrogen bomb test had been carried out on Bikini Atoll.

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Sixty years have passed since his first performance at the St Ives church on Easter Sunday 1954, yet he is still singing for the congregation.

Mr Murrills, 68, a sales assistant of Fairfields, was eight-years-old when he decided to join his cousin in the choir. Over the years, his jobs have changed – from training as a newspaper reporter to working as a special constable – but singing has remained a mainstay of his life.

He said: “From a singing point of view, the best times are Easter and Christmas. The music and the singing are fantastic at those times of the year.

“I enjoy singing bass and joining in with the others, especially if something is going really well.

“It is good from a health point of view for people to sing – it takes them out of themselves. You don’t have to be good at singing – you don’t have to be a Pavarotti of this world.”

The choir, which has 10 members, meets twice a week to sing traditional songs for the church service. Mr Murrills said that his particular favourites are Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer and Ave Verum Corpus.

Alongside singing he also plays the organ and his choice of music taste outside of the choir includes classical and marching band music.

He said that he hopes to remain at the church for the foreseeable future, although together with his wife Rosemary, 51, he intends to spend his retirement in the Eastbourne area.

“I have served under five priests and it must be about eight organists and choirmasters over those 60 years and they all bring something different to a service,” he added.

“I wouldn’t say it has changed all that much, with the choir numbers people come and go but you get the same half a dozen that are there all the time.

“Everybody enjoys the singing and we have a good laugh at the same time.”

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