The Christchurch Choral Festival, lasting about one hour, will be held in the Catholic Pro-Cathedral, 373 Manchester Street, at 3 pm on Sunday, 14 August, 2022. 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.
Christchurch has a wonderful tradition of co-operative singing at primary school level, in the annual Schools’ Festival. The Big Sing encourages competitive choral activity among the better resourced secondary schools, and most adult choirs work towards their own choral targets. This festival is intended to bring choirs together 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 Paul Ellis and Ken Joblin, and co-ordinated by the Royal School of Church Music, will open the concert with two compositions by Ralph Vaughan Williams: the stirring Let All The World In Every Corner Sing, and a gentle O Taste And See. They sing The Chorister’s Prayer, by Martin How, and their bracket concludes with an arrangement by Sir David Willcocks for choir and audience of Parry’s hymn O Praise Ye the Lord. The Community Choirs of Christchurch will be co-ordinated by Henry Nicholson, singing some popular arrangements. Young singers will be represented by the ChristChurch Cathedral choristers, directed by Dr John Linker, and by the Christchurch Boys’ Choir, directed by Robert Gaudin. The concert choir bracket will include Mozart’s Laudate Dominum and Fauré’s Libera Me, with soloist Paul Whelan. Experienced singers are welcome to join this group, which rehearses at 2.15 pm on the day of the concert.
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: Haydn’s The Heavens Are Telling, from The Creation. Scores and MP3’s for all musical items are available online.