Diocese of Portsmouth

    Cathedral choir leads pupils in singing masterclass

    2 Dec. 2019

    PUPILS from schools in Portsmouth recently celebrated St Cecilia’s Day – the patron saint of music and musicians – by learning and performing a repertoire of choral music with the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir.

    “The idea behind our St Cecilia’s Day (Friday 22nd November) event was to use the occasion to give primary and secondary children from across the Diocese of Portsmouth an opportunity to experience being an integral part of a special service of Evensong,” said Adrian Green, Director of Portsmouth’s Cathedral Sing Programme.

    “We pushed ourselves to pick a repertoire that was uplifting and challenging, including Rizza’s Song of Mary and Howell’s A Hymn for St Cecilia. The music was taught in classrooms and school halls prior to the event itself. For many involved, this was their first experience of visiting Portsmouth Cathedral and of singing the service of choral evensong. The impact of 180 young musicians singing their hearts out was truly transformational for everybody in the building and for the Cathedral Sing team. It has inspired us all and serves as a great reminder of the power and impact that music can have in bringing us together as a community.”

    The children spent the afternoon in workshops learning to sing as a choir before performing the pieces during a special Evensong at Portsmouth Cathedral where they sang alongside the cathedral choir.

    The choirs, together with the Cathedral Choir, sing at Evensong
    The choirs, together with the Cathedral Choir, sing at Evensong

    Shirley Denne, a teacher from Carisbrooke C of E Primary School, said afterwards that “the evening was absolutely amazing. The two young lads with us were mesmerized by the cathedral choir. To experience and to be part of a beautiful Evensong service was such a privilege and indeed an honour, not only for the children and myself, but also the parents who had never heard an Evensong. They were astounded at the sound the choirs made and the beautiful setting. A few even said to me that it brought tears to their eyes and were very proud their child had been given the opportunity. The cathedral choir and serving members of the evening were very welcoming to the children and staff.”

    The children themselves had this to say: “It was amazing”, “I have never seen such a big choir, their voices were beautiful”, “Best time ever”, “Loved the sound of the powerful organ”, “It was best thing ever – I really sang loud.”

    For the past eleven years, Portsmouth Cathedral has run the singing partnership programme – Cathedral Sing! – with local schools across Hampshire to encourage and support children to make music. This includes members of Portsmouth Cathedral Choir. The event was free for children to sign up to, and is supported by a number of organisations, including Chapter of Portsmouth Cathedral, Williams Church Music Trust, Portsmouth Lottery, The Portsmouth Grammar School, Golsoncott Foundation, Music for All, Ouseley Church Music Trust, The Nugee Foundation and The Rainbow Dickinson Trust.

    You can read more about the Cathedral Sing programme at Portsmouth Cathedral’s website.

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