When you hear his record by Master John Brookman you will rejoice that such voices can live forever. ...H.M.V. Review, Christmas 1934
John Brookman joined the choir of St. Margaret’s, Westminster in 1928 when Stanley Roper was choirmaster. In those days, Roper used to employ a professional boy soloist named Griffith, who was not a regular member of the choir. But as soon as Herbert Dawson took over as choirmaster he encouraged the boys in the choir to take the solos. John Brookman and Eric Brown became the principal soloists, John remaining so for the rest of his seven years in the choir. When Brown left the choir, John, who was now fifteen, was asked to record by HMV. The record was made in the Kingsway Hall, nine days before his sixteenth birthday, John choosing the title ‘The Star of Bethlehem’. The recording session lasted from two until five in the afternoon. John remained in the choir until 1935 when Herbert Dawson found him a position in Barclay’s Bank. As a leaving present he was given an inscribed watch, and Dawson remarked: ‘In all your seven-and-a-half years, you have never missed a lead!’ When John returned from Dunkirk a mangled mess, the watch was still going, and it keeps faithful time to this day!
Copyright © 2001 Stephen R. Beet
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