Whitby organist speaks of performing in front of Royal family at Queen's platinum jubilee service

A Whitby organist has spoken of performing in front of the Royal family in the service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

By Duncan Atkins
Monday, 13th June 2022, 3:49 pm

William Fox, 26, is the Acting Organist at St Paul's Cathedral and had the honour of playing at the service in front of a full house with the Royal family - although sadly, not the Queen, in attendance, as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Cabinet members.

"It was an amazing service in a great atmosphere," William said, "and after Covid it was really good to do something like that - the last big thing was the Queen's 90th birthday."

"It was watched by millions around the word, a big, historic, one-off occasion."

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William Fox, Acting Organist at St Paul's Cathedral and originally from Whitby. picture: Hugh Warwick.

He admitted the thought of performing at such an event was nerve-wracking but put thorough preparation into making sure it went without a hitch.

"It's hard when you know that your living depends on it," he said.

"I was very apprehensive and it was the prospect of doing it that was scary rather than actually doing it.

"One of the nice things about playing the organ is that you are hidden away as we are not as on display but if you put one foot wrong during the national anthem, everyone knows!"

William grew up in Fylingthorpe, where his parents still live, and attended Fylingdales School until the age of eight.

His music teacher Gillian Edwards spotted his singing potential as a youngster performing at Whitby's Eskdale Festival and suggested to his parents that they should look into him becoming a chorister and singing at York Minster.

William went for an audition and sang with a choir there for five years, moving away to attend schools in Oakham and at Wells Cathedral, before taking a music degree at Oxford.

He went to St Paul's Cathedral from there, joining in July 2018 as sub-organist and then into his current role around a year ago, where he plays a lot of ordinary services such as weddings and baptisms, but also special events and big state occasions.

The thanksgiving service was broadcast by the BBC during the jubilee celebrations.

"I still like coming back to Whitby and sometimes play at St Stephen's in Fylingthorpe," he added.

And in 2012, William was involved in a project to install an organ at All Saints' Church in Hawsker.