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All the best: Roger Nesbitt on his favourite things


Vocal presence: Roger Nesbitt, chair of the Charles Wood festival, likes to relax by singing

Vocal presence: Roger Nesbitt, chair of the Charles Wood festival, likes to relax by singing

Vocal presence: Roger Nesbitt, chair of the Charles Wood festival, likes to relax by singing

The 69-year-old is the chairman of the Charles Wood Summer School, which celebrates the work of the composer and musician from Armagh. He lives in the city with his wife Elizabeth and they have two grown-up children, John and Jenny.

My best moment

It was a couple of years ago when I set foot on solid ground after a flight to Berlin. The plane had to circle for an hour during a thunderstorm and it was like being on a rollercoaster. There was lightning hitting the wings and people were being sick everywhere. I came off the flight very glad to be alive and I wouldn't like to repeat the experience.

My best way to relax

I've been singing all my life in several choirs. My main choir at the moment is the Armagh City Choir. I also like DIY and driving. I find the latter very relaxing on country roads or abroad – unless I get stuck in traffic.

My best job

I spent years as a teacher, which was very fulfilling. Another great job I had was as a student, when I sold cushions at Wimbledon and the cricket test matches – I learnt a lot about human nature that way.

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When the summer school started back in the 1990s I was a member of the Charles Wood Singers; I joined the committee of the school 10 years ago and now I've been chairman for the last four years. It's something I enjoy – a summer school and a festival all rolled into one. We even host the Northern Ireland National Organ Competition now.

My best song

For me it has to be something by Charles Wood, so it's an anthem called Hail Gladdening Light. It's one of his anthems that I like best – it's great to sing and is a very uplifting sound.

My best advice

I suppose it's a cliche, but if a thing's worth doing then it's worth doing well. It probably came from my parents and it's one of those things that has stuck.

My best gift

The very first camera I got sticks in my mind. It was a Kodak Cresta (left) and it was a gift from my parents. We even had a darkroom in the attic so we would take pictures and develop them ourselves.

My best achievement

There are so many obvious things, from having kids to work achievements.

I helped to build our new house by fitting windows and installing boilers. It's nice that I now live with those achievements every day.

My best buy

That hast to be a ride-on lawnmower. We live in the country so there's a lot of grass. It used to take eight hours to cut the grass by hand so the ride-on became a necessity.

My best movie

I'm not really a big moviegoer but one that I really enjoyed was The Shawshank Redemption. It was a great film, a vision of horrendous prison life with a wonderful twist at the end.

My best book

Going back to when I was a student reading the classics, it would be Bleak House by Charles Dickens. It has a great story and great twists in it and made a big impression on me when I first read it.

  • The Charles Wood Festival of Music and Summer School is taking place in Armagh's main churches until this Sunday, August 24. The event is the sacred music sector's equivalent to the Proms and features international artists David Hill, the artistic director, voice coach Paul Farrington and organ scholars Frederic Blanc and Philip Scriven. For details, visit www.charleswood summerschool.org

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