A Christchurch Choral Festival, lasting about one hour, will be held in the Catholic Pro-Cathedral, 373 Manchester Street. The Catholic Pro-Cathedral offers ample space at the front, suitable for large choral forces, and seating is available for an audience of at least 500, although the performers will use a proportion of that during the concert.
This will be the tenth festival in a developing tradition for the city, intended to sustain and strengthen separate choirs with an annual opportunity to share repertoire on a larger scale.
As in past years, individual choirs will be grouped into convenient clusters, performing for up to 10 minutes, and choosing their own items, conductors and accompanists. Combined inner-city church choirs, conducted by John Linker, Ken Joblin and Paul Ellis, and co-ordinated by the Royal School of Church Music, will open the concert with Mozart’s favourite Ave Verum, Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter, and a choral setting of the well-known All Creatures hymn by former Christchurch composer J.V. Peters. The Community Choirs of Christchurch will be led by Henry Nicholson, singing some popular arrangements and Sing Joyfully by J & D. Perry. A Maori melody and a new piece from local composer Richard Oswin will be heard from the Christchurch Boys’ Choir, conducted by Nicholas Sutcliffe. Two movements from the Fauré Requiem will be directed by John Linker. He will present Pie Jesu with his Christchurch Cathedral Choristers, and begin the concert choir bracket with Libera Me, for which the baritone soloist will be Wally Enright. The combined concert choirs will also sing a Mendelssohn madrigal, conducted by Felicity O’Brien, and an up-tempo version of Sister Sadie, arranged and conducted by Mary Ruston, whose Jazzamatazz Choir is one of the many groups participating this year.
Admission will be free, and participants will pay nothing. There will be no interval, and the concert should last one hour. All performers should be in place by 2.30 pm on the day, to rehearse the concluding combined item: Beethoven’s Hallelujah Chorus, from his oratorio Mount of Olives.