The Christchurch Choral Festival, lasting about one hour, will be held in the Catholic Pro-Cathedral, 373 Manchester Street, at 3 pm on Sunday, 15 August, 2021. The 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 eleventh 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. Some of the repertoire, dedicated to St Mary, will acknowledge the major church festival celebrated this day.
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 Paul Ellis and Ken Joblin, and co-ordinated by the Royal School of Church Music, will open the concert with an ancient hymn to Mary: the plainsong Salve Regina, followed by as setting of the Ave Maria traditionally ascribed to Jacob Arcadelt. Their bracket concludes with C.V. Stanford’s stirring arrangement for choirs and organ of the traditional Irish hymn, St Patrick’s Breastplate. The Community Choirs of Christchurch will be co-ordinated by Henry Nicholson, singing some popular arrangements. The Christchurch Boys’ Choir will be directed by Robert Gaudin, Nicholas Ryan, and James-Paul Mountstevens. Rutter’s The Lord Bless You will be sung by Medbury School Choristers, directed by Chrissie Badger. The concert choir bracket will begin with Sister Moon from the Jazzamatazz Choir, followed by Bruckner’s Ave Maria, sung by the CBS Choir. It will conclude with an arrangement for both groups by Mary Ruston of Ellington’s Take the A Train.
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: Brahms’ How Lovely Are thy Dwellings, from the German Requiem.