Sarah McKee - alto
What do you do for a living?
I try to make earthworks, viaducts and reinforced concrete sound sexy.
Have you lived in Gloucestershire all your life?
No, I have moved around the UK quite a lot. I lived in Berkshire until I was 19 and since then I have lived in Hampshire, Kent, Devon, Sussex, Norfolk and Dorset. Between us, my husband and I have lived in every county on the south coast. We moved to Gloucestershire in 2015.
Where is your favourite place in Gloucestershire?
The top of Cleeve Hill, probably.
Which bit of the building at Gloucester Cathedral do you love the most?
I love the Lady Chapel – specifically the Howells Memorial Window. It’s so beautiful. Sometimes when I’m early to collect my son from evensong and too late to join the service I go to the Lady Chapel and look at the stained glass and listen to the service.
If you had to name your favourite choral piece, what might it be and why?
Howells 'Salve Regina' – no competition. I first sang it with NYC when I was about 17 and fell instantly in love.
Is there a choral piece that you would love to sing in, but haven’t yet?
Britten’s 'War Requiem'
What has been your favourite moment or event during your time with the Saint Cecilia Singers?
Singing Howells Gloucester Service at the 70th anniversary evensong. I’ve been singing that piece all my life in various choirs, but that was my first time in the cathedral for which it was written.
Where in the world would you most like to visit, but haven’t?
I’ve never been to New York. I’d love to go in winter.
If you could read only two books from now on, which ones would they be?
I read a lot, so that would be hard. If I had to read the same thing over and over, it would have to be poetry, because you can read a poem differently every time. Betjeman is my favourite poet, so it would be his collected works and the complete works of Shakespeare.
Which four figures from the past would you like to have at your dinner table?
Wow. It’s hard to choose just four… Anita Roddick is my hero, so she would definitely have an invitation. I’ve often wondered what Queen Elizabeth I and Margaret Thatcher would make of each other. Tom Lehrer is another legend and he could provide some entertainment if it all got a bit intense.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Definitely English. No… actually music. No… it was English. Or, maybe music? Um. English and Music. I’ve never been able to choose between the two – I even combined them in my degree…
What other hobbies do you enjoy outside of music?
I take every available opportunity to read a good book. I’m just re-reading all the Poirot novels as an exercise in how to write perfect plots and economic prose. Agatha Christie was an absolute genius. Maybe she should be on my dinner party list too…
What are you most looking forward to after lockdown eases?
Having my dining table back – my husband has turned it into a recording studio…
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