Added on 05/08/2014
St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, is to launch a new volunteer adult choir.
The Cathedral Singers will support the existing choirs and will perform at services and concerts both in St Anne’s and in other venues.
At present the cathedral has a girls’ choir, a junior girls’ training choir, a soprano choir and an adult choir of lay clerks.
The choirs rehearse weekly and sing every Sunday at Sung Eucharist and at daily Evensong services. The lay clerks form the bottom three lines of the choir, and the top part is currently filled by members of the girls’ choir alternating every other week with the sopranos.
St Anne’s is now training a new boys’ choir and it is intended that in time the boys will sing alternate weeks with the girls’ choir.
One thing all these choirs have in common is that the choristers, whatever their age, receive a salary as an incentive to ensure they attend all rehearsals and services. ‘It is like a job and it is a big commitment,’ Thérèse Woodfield, Deputy Master of the Choristers at St Anne’s, said. ‘If you are paid you cannot miss rehearsals or services.’
Thérèse will be training the new volunteer choir, members of which will not be paid.
‘I would plan to have a larger pool of singers so not everyone has to commit to attending every time,’ said Thérèse. ‘I need enough members to ensure that I can draw on 12–16 on any occasion.’
Rehearsals will be held every Wednesday night from 10 September. ‘I want to build a community so people really want to come and sing. Membership will be open to all. St Anne’s is the city cathedral and this city choir will be open to everyone, not just singers from a Church of Ireland background. It is for people who love choral music,’ said Therese.
‘The choir will sing a range of music. For anyone who comes along this will be an opportunity to feel a real sense of community, to sing and socialise in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere and to take part in events and services with a real sense of occasion.
‘They will feel a sense of commitment, but it will not be a binding commitment,’ Therese added. ‘Sometimes busy people who love singing are put off joining a choir because they are simply unable to make a weekly commitment to rehearsals, services or performances.’
The new choir will wear bespoke robes and will have an identity of its own as well as supporting the existing choir.
‘At present none of the choirs sing in St Anne’s through the summer,’ said Thérèse. ‘I would like the volunteer choir to sing occasionally during the summer months and help out over other busy occasions, like Christmas or during Holy Week. This choir could sing at the many civic services that are held in the cathedral and during the annual Music Festival.
‘I hope that the Cathedral Singers will perform in other places and take part in competitions.’
David Stevens, Master of the Choristers at St Anne’s, welcomed the formation of the new choir. ‘I am delighted that we will add another choir to our team of singers based at the cathedral, and am especially pleased that a major part of the choir’s life will be performances outside of the cathedral in the wider Belfast community,’ David said.
Auditions will be held in St Anne’s Cathedral from Monday 1 September until Friday 5 September, with rehearsals beginning the following week.
To audition, you must be aged 18 or over and there is no upper age limit. Previous choral singing experience would be desirable. To arrange an audition, which will be held in private, please contact Thérèse by phone on 07840 117285 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Thérèse Woodfield
For further information contact Karen Bushby, Press Officer, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on 07766 103880 or email Karen@belfastcathedral.org
Saint Anne’s Cathedral