I’m Graham and I’m fortunate to be one of the musical volunteers that play in the house. Sometimes I’ll be by myself, and sometimes with Veronika, the wonderful flute player.
I started playing in Gallery 1, but more recently I have been playing in the main hall which has nice acoustics and where I’ve found visitors more likely to come and have a chat about the house.
I’ve taken to setting up next to a small girl who kneels pensively in a penitent pose. As I got to know her, I adopted her as my backing singer, although her voice can be difficult to hear. Anyhow, she is certainly patient; never a cross word about a misplaced note or a guitar drifting out of tune. I felt we got on very well and I was charmed by her.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when one day my friend Pete, who works on the permanent staff, told that me that the young girl kneeling beside me was actually a young boy! The statue was made by the Italian sculptor Giovani Benzoni in 1859 and is of the biblical figure Samuel.
The child had been given to work for God after his mother had promised to do this if God granted her a child. One-night Samuel heard voices calling to him and he believed that they came from the priest he lived with. This happened 3 times and each time the priest said that he had said nothing.
They both then realised that Samuel was being spoken to by God and the child kneels in his presence. I think it’s a beautiful statue, executed in marble, and tells such a lovely story.
Do come over and say hello if you see us playing and remember to ask Samuel to sing a bit louder!