Members of Capella sang the Irish language Carol Service at St George’s Church, Belfast last Sunday afternoon. They sang a work in English by Scottish composer, James MacMillan and in Irish by McGlynn. The carols were sung through Irish and the readings and prayers equally so. The congregation, many of whom had travelled a great distance, were charmed by the manner in which the choir sang and the etiquette with which they composed themselves.
‘A cathedral choir in all but name’ is how Mr Edward Bevin of Friends of Cathedral Music described our choir. A true compliment and well deserved given the hard work and commitment put in weekly by the choristers, musical directors, organists, music committee, administrators and congregation. It is a true privilege to be a continuing part of the heritage and legacy of centuries of sacred music. This year, the choir will sing ‘Quatre motets’ by Duruflé, ‘Blessed city’ by Bairstow and Finzi’s ‘Lo the full final sacrifice’.
Thanks to Ben Lowry, News Letter Deputy Editor for his coverage
Thank you to the huge congregation at Evensong on Sunday afternoon, October 1st. The Festival Choral Evensong saw the Choir presented with a significant grant from the Friends of Cathedral Music to help develop musical tuition and training within the Church. The support for St George’s Parish Choir was fabulous.
Thank you especially to Mr and Mrs Bevin from St Alban’s who travelled from England to represent the Friends of Cathedral Music. Local representative and assistant treasurer Mr Donald Kerr presented the cheque for £20,000.
Mr Bevin, was delighted with the choir and will report back favourably to his colleagues in England. The award is the highest ever made to such a choir in all of Ireland.
We also welcomed seven new choristers at the service: Henry Greenlees, Connor Houston, David Johnston, William Magee, Eoghan McEnerney, Jake Rosetto and Billy Whitten.
On Wednesday evening, September 27th Bishop Alan Abernethy commissioned our Rector’s Churchwarden Mark Wardil as a Lay Reader. Rev. Kevin Graham, Warden of Readers, presented Mark alongside Andrew McFaul from Muckamore Parish.
On October 1st, a very special evensong will take place at 5.00pm in St. George’s Church, Belfast. The Friends of Cathedral Music will present the Parish Choir with a grant for £20,000 in order to further the work of the choir. The Parish Choir, made up of 19 choristers, 6 choral scholars and 10 gentlemen will sing the service, at which 7 new choristers will be installed into the choir, receiving their surplice and their own, personalised hymn book.
The choristers come from a variety of schools around Belfast and Lisburn and rehearse on Thursday evenings with the gentlemen and on Friday afternoons alongside the probationers or new recruits. The training of the choir is managed jointly by David and Maeve Falconer, David directs the choir, Maeve recruits and trains the probationers and provides one to one singing lessons for the 6 choral scholars. They are assisted at the organ on Sunday mornings by Mr Ian MacKrell, and at evensongs and festival services by Mr Mark McGrath. The choristers also receive lessons in Music theory from music under-graduate, Mr Ryan Garnham. The choristers pass into the back row seamlessly after voice break and, as choral scholars, may move on to university choral scholarships. This year Michael Hong leaves to take up a choral scholarship in Clare College, Cambridge while former organ scholar, Donal McCann takes up the position of organ scholar at King’s College, Cambridge. Organ scholarships are also available at St George’s, with tuition provided by Mr Mark McGrath.
The Church of Ireland offers a rich variety of services, some based more loosely on the Book of Common Prayer, others based entirely on it. St George’s in Belfast and St Bartholomew’s in Dublin offer Choral Eucharists sung by advanced parish choirs of boys and men, using the BCP liturgy to its fullest.
The Friends of Cathedral Music is a charity with a mission to maintain and progress Cathedral music. As such, it offers grants to cathedrals in order to help them to meet the costs of developing and maintaining the choirs. They have a special fund reserved for choirs made up of trebles and men. Although we are a parish church, the exceptional tradition and standards upheld in St George’s were deemed worthy of investment and the Parish Choir has been awarded a grant of £20,000. The choir is greatly indebted to Friends of Cathedral Music for this tremendous support and acknowledgement of the hard work and commitment from the Director of Music, teachers, organists, men and boys of St George’s Church, Belfast.
Today we presented Billy Jeffrey with a stole in advance of his Ordination as a Deacon on Sunday 3rd September at 6pm in Ballyholme. Billy will be ordained to serve his year as Deacon in Carryduff. Billy recently visited our CMS Mission Partners, Keith and Lynne Scott in Zambia. This was a placement as part of his training for ordination at CITI and you can read his blog of his visit written for CMSI on their website http://www.cmsireland.org/
At this time we also remember Ian Mills who spent six weeks with us last year as part of his CITI placement. Ian will be ordained this Thursday (24th August) in Antrim at 8pm and will serve in Agherton Parish in Portstewart.
A link to an article on the Church of Ireland website about our Sexton Ken Tate who will revisit the Himalayas to take part in his second Everest Marathon this November.
You can sponsor Ken online by visiting www.virginmoneygiving.com/kentate or make a donation at St George’s Parish Church.