News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
The unique musical tradition of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral is due almost entirely to the Duffy brothers, Philip held the post of Master of the Music from 1966 to 1996 and Terence was Organist from 1963 to 1993, and Director of Music from 2004 to 2007.
Choir tours spread the Cathedral’s message far and wide throughout the world, including singing in St Peter’s Basilica in 2014 when Archbishop Malcolm McMahon received the pallium from Pope Francis.
Founded in 2008 the Girls’ choir continues to go from strength to strength, pictured here before one of the annual Schools Advent Services.
All the girl and boy choristers are pupils either at St Edward’s College (for those aged 11+) or Runnymede: St Edward’s School for the younger choristers (7-11yrs old). The first choir school was the former prep school of St Francis Xavier’s College, St Joseph’s, which Archbishop John Carmel Heenan took over in 1960, appointing two diocesan priests to the staff, one of whom was Father (now Bishop) Vincent Malone. It later became known as Woolton College and was run by a French order of teaching brothers. They later closed the school in1973 and the boy choristers had to be dispersed between a number of local primary and secondary schools.
Fortunately successful negotiations between the Cathedral authorities and the Christian Brothers at St Edward’s resulted in the college becoming the choir school in 1974, reuniting the choristers. This allowed the normal hour of rehearsal before the school day to commence again. When St Edward’s became a maintained school again, after a period of independence, the preparatory school, Runnymede, retained its status as a separately governed school but remaining on the same campus. Both the Cathedral and the schools are proud of their association in helping train the internationally reputed choir.
The girl and boys choristers rehearse separately each morning and one or the other group is taken by coach to the Cathedral at the end of the school day to sing the choral services of Mass or Evening Prayer.
Over the years the Cathedral choir has published more than fifteen recordings on both LP and CD. The latest ‘Angels, Saints and Nations sing’ is a tribute to 50 years of Cathedral music. It was launched at Choral Evening Prayer on Sunday 14 May, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening Mass in the Cathedral. Dame Lorna Muirhead DCVO, DBE, the Lord Lieutenant attended and was presented with the CD by Kelsey Thomas and Emmanuel Kurek-Chomyz representing the Cathedral choirs.
The CD will be available for sale at all the major Jubilee events in the Cathedral over the next few months, or direct from the Cathedral music office Tel: 0151 708 7283 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This wonderful and vast instrument was built by the London firm of J W Walker & Sons in time for the opening of the Cathedral in May 1967 writes Terence Duffy. It was constructed first in their works in Ruislip before installation in the Cathedral. At that time it was the most significant large organ constructed. It has four manuals or keyboards, plus a pedalboard (a keyboard for the feet), 108 stops and a total of 4565 pipes ranging from 25mm to about 10 metres in length and made from wood or metal. A striking feature is the display of trumpets projecting horizontally into the Cathedral. Now 50 years old, like the Cathedral, it needs some work to be carried out to replace electrical components and leatherwork which are showing their age. The organ is in constant use for daily services and practice by the organists, as well as recitals. This year there is a programme of four Jubilee recitals as well as the annual Summer Series on Saturday afternoons. Details of the recitals can be found on the Cathedral website www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk