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Wabash man awed by the majesty of Yorkminster

Jeff Sostak '06

Today we left Manchester at the bright hour of eight o’clock in the morning to make the ultimate destination of this entire trip, the Cathedral of York Minster. To say this structure is large does not do it justice. To be granted the opportunity to sing in this building is a memory I am sure to cherish for a very long time since the sound continued to resonate for multiple seconds after the final cutoff. The performance was magical, to say the least, even with a bit of trouble at the beginning, while we were still getting used to the environment around us and hearing the pitch in the cavernous space.  I particularly enjoyed hearing the music swirl around the cathedral at the end of “Cantate Domino”.

The cathedral took over 200 years to build, and I am sure they spared no expense on any part. But unfortunately at the time of Henry VIII and the formation of the church of England, parts of the ornate decorations were taken, and we were left only to dream and wonder what treasure stood there in the 16th century. Visitors are allowed to climb the tower to the top, and Clayton Craig and I deemed we were fit enough to attempt the grueling task. The climb consisted of 275 steps packed into a spiral staircase with a width of no more than 2.5 to 3 feet, and therefore room for error was small. For one slip would produce a cartoon-like fall all the way down the stairs.

It was fortunate that today was an absolutely gorgeous day, the first sunny day since we began the trip 7 days ago. The scenery at the top of the tower was breathtaking and provided many photo opportunities of the compact shops within the old walled city below. An interesting side-note about the city of York (according to a plaque on a statue) concerns Constantine the Great, who was proclaimed Roman Emperor in York near where the cathedral stands today.

It seems fitting that the man who called for the Nicene Creed and helped the fledgling Christian church would be declared emperor on the same site as the largest gothic cathedral north of the Alps.