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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 15:44 GMT
Nuns take 'tuneful' monk's advice
One of the nuns from St Peter's Convent
The 15 nuns were told to sit closer together
A community of nuns drafted in a Benedictine monk to teach its members to sing in tune.

The sisters at the Church of England's St Peter's Convent in Surrey, took the step because they were concerned their performances were jarring with worshippers.

On Thursday the Woking-based nuns appeared on BBC local radio to prove their vocal tones are now much more harmonious.

Reverend Mother Rosamond Davidson and the sisters sang a hymn and intoned a psalm live on BBC Southern Counties.

They were much more confident, chirpy and enthusiastic afterwards

Father Cuthbert Brogan
Their improvements came after the radio station put the nuns in touch with a Hampshire-based prior.

Father Cuthbert Brogan, from the Roman Catholic St Michael's Abbey, in Farnborough, Hampshire, put himself forward as their teacher after hearing an on-air appeal.

Mother Rosamond, whose 15 nuns have average age of 70 - the oldest is 90 - said: "We're getting older and our community is getting smaller.

"We thought if we had tuition from people who knew how to do it we would produce a better sound and worship better."

Father Cuthbert said he drew on the strong singing tradition of his order, famous for singing Gregorian chants, in his half-hour lesson with the nuns.

He said: "They were brave and cheerful in the face of many adversities. They're just a handful of older sisters."

He instructed them in simple techniques, including how to use a microphone, breathing properly and sitting closer together to strengthen the sound.

Father Cuthbert added: "It was a minor miracle, the transformation. They were much more confident, chirpy and enthusiastic afterwards."

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