A Shining Memorial Service
Updated: Apr 23
It was my honour and my pleasure to sing some serenely beautiful music at a very special memorial service this week.
We honoured a remarkable man, Sir Richard 'Jock' Pease. He lived a full and joyful life, with a distinguished financial career and a wonderful loving family.
Though I didn't know him personally, by the end of the service, after many beautiful readings by his family, I felt like I did, and I know I would have liked him a lot.
The beautiful church of Saint Michael and all Angels in Middleton Tyas
The service took place at the church of Saint Michael and all Angels in Middleton Tyas, in North Yorkshire (near Darlington). At the end of the service, Sir Richard's ashes were placed in the churchyard with members of his family, including his brother Arthur Peter Pease, a brave young fighter pilot who died in the Battle of Britain.
As I pulled up to the church in my car, there was a robin sat on the fence singing to me. Robins always remind me of my Grandad, who is my hero and my inspiration. It was very clear from the readings by Jock's grandchildren that they feel the same way about him.
Robins appear when loved ones are near.
After over a year of no live performances, it was wonderful to perform with my singing teacher and good friend Dr. Robin Harrison aka The Maestro Online who accompanied me on the organ. Robin is a accredited teacher for the Royal College of Organists, so I knew immediately who to call to perform with me at this very special service.
Me and Robin enjoyed a socially distanced catch up after the service
Some people are surprised when I tell them that I have a singing coach, even though I teach singing lessons myself. As a professional singer, it's really important to have good coaching throughout your career to keep your voice rounded and healthy. I also coach some professional and advanced singers myself.
If you'd like to find out more about making the most of your voice, and meet some of my students, you can visit my coaching page here.
They are all beautiful, peaceful songs, which ask for eternal rest, for the person who has died and their loved ones who remain here.
All the family and guests made a point of telling me how much they had enjoyed my singing and how the music had helped them today. This means the world to me, and it's why I love doing what I do.
When I returned home, I received a note from Nichola, saying:
"I just wanted to say a very big thank you from all of us for singing today. You have the most wonderful, angelic voice. It was lovely to be able to sit back and listen, each person carried away in their own feelings and thoughts about my father."
After everything the Pease family has done for this beautiful part of the world that I call home, including Sir Joseph Pease opening The Bowes Museum, which has been such an inspiration to me, it was wonderful to be able to do something for them.
(Update- I now lead a choir at the Shildon Railway Institute, which was opened by the Pease family.)
If you'd like to talk to me about a memorial service for your loved one, please get in touch and I'll be happy to help you honour them memory. You can call me for a friendly chat on 07581 034482, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about other memorial services I have been part of here.
The church was full of beautiful flowers organised by Sarah Vaux, who I know from Richmondshire Choral Society, and who kindly recommended me to sing at at the service. It just goes to show that it's always worth singing your best at choir, as you never know who's listening!
It was nice to see the friendly face of James Blenkiron listening at the back, who co-ordinated proceedings in his customary dignified, personable way. Liz the church warden and resident organist Howard were extremely helpful too, opening the church for us very early in the morning so that we could rehearse, and quietly tolerating my slightly odd sounding vocal exercises!
It's very true what they say about the people of the North East and Yorkshire, they help everyone feel at home. I'm very glad that Jock is back home now too, resting peacefully amongst the daffodils.