12 June 2020
The Abingdon community will be interested to know that today marks the retirement from his post as Vicar Choral at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, of our long-serving singing teacher, Andrew Yeats. The title, Vicar Choral, refers to the professional singers who sing alongside the trebles in the cathedral choir.
However, that doesn’t mean that Abingdon will be saying goodbye to him any time soon. Andrew has guided Abingdon’s singers over many years and has played for many an A level recital or Associated Board exam. He has seen many of his pupils go on to professional singing careers Guy and Hugh Cutting, Tom and Johnnie Herford and Roddy Morris, to name but five! In this photograph, Mr Yeats is pictured at the piano with his pupil, Alex Glover, at a recent Annual Singers’ Platform.
Over many years, Andrew has been juggling a busy career as a professional singer and teacher with his part-time job as permanent tenor in the cathedral choir at St Paul’s, a role which has given him much fulfilment. In those 26 years, Andrew has seen much change in the political landscape, but the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, has been the one constant.
Andrew says of his experience at St Paul’s:
Watching the Queen through that period has been the fascinating thing. In my first royal service the Government big guns were all at the front and then … along the front row to the far left there was a solitary figure. A young and very unassuming opposition leader – Tony Blair!! I already knew that he and I had a shared passion for the relatively obscure Scottish philosopher John MacMurray but of course I was too shy to approach him afterwards. MacMurray was the first philosopher invited to give on BBC radio a series broadcasts on the relevance of Philosopher to the ordinary person in 1930 (entitled Reality and Freedom). Those published talks inspired me to teach! But I can’t wait to get back to Abingdon!
We congratulate Andrew on his distinguished period of service at St Paul’s and we look forward to welcoming him back to the music department in September.