News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
- A LOOK BACK AT OUR COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE
All the signs at present are that the restrictions in place regarding isolation and closure of public buildings including churches will remain in place at least until the end of May.
The most harrowing and devastating effects of the pandemic are being felt by those who have contracted the coronavirus and their families but to a lesser degree all sections of our community within all our parishes are having to shoulder the burden. Looking ahead our Cathedral diary is now just a series of erased entries. Weddings arranged here at the Cathedral for the next couple of months have had to be cancelled, First Communions postponed, post Easter choir tour cancelled, Pentecost celebrations doubtful, KSC National Mass cancelled – the list could go on. All that we are able to do at present in the Cathedral is offer chaplaincy support for the Royal Hospital nearby and offer private Mass for the community each day with the technical challenges of live streaming on a Sunday as well as trying to keep in touch with people online.
From the feedback we have received the streaming of Mass has been really appreciated by many especially the services during Holy Week but there is a real feeling of emptiness celebrating the Eucharist without a congregation in such a vast Cathedral building. One of the really positive signs of hope for me has been witnessing how staff and parishioners have been keeping in touch with one another and particularly keeping in contact with those that they know who are on their own and offering support. It is true that when we are most in need and feel unable to do much ourselves the Risen Lord reveals his presence amongst us in different ways. Despite the challenges at present the faith and the care and kindness of others is a real sign of Easter Hope.
Cathedral Music on Lockdown
April was a strange month since the government lockdown and suspension of public religious services, the Cathedral Choir has been unable to meet in person on a daily basis to sing. Considering our choristers spend around 20 hours a week singing together this is quite a drastic change to their routine!
However, thanks to modern technology, the education of our choristers has moved ‘on-line.’ Each day the music staff meet (virtually) with choristers, either individually or in small groups, to work on music theory, vocal technique and keyboard skills. These sessions are vital both for the ongoing education of our choristers, and for the keeping of a sense of community between our choir members and the Cathedral.
The summer term each year is usually dominated by choir recruitment. As our older choristers leave each year (boys whose voices have changed, and girls preparing for GCSE’s) we seek to recruit new choristers. This year's recruitment cycle is going to be rather different from previous years, with two particular factors having a significant impact.
Firstly, unlike previous years, we are now in a position to offer a chorister education without the involvement of school fees to any Catholic boy or girl. Previously, boys were obligated to pay school fees to attend the Cathedral Choir junior school (although many gained scholarships which substantially reduced the fees payable.) However, from September 2020, Runnymede St Edward’s Preparatory School will reopen as Runnymede St Edward’s Catholic Primary School, a new Voluntary Aided School.
We are delighted that this means that all Catholic children throughout the Archdiocese will now have the opportunity to audition for a place as a chorister at the Cathedral, without the burden of school fees, and to be educated at our two Cathedral Choir Schools: Runnymede St Edward’s Catholic Primary School (Boys, age 7-10) St Edward’s College (Boys & Girls, age 11-15.)
The second factor that will affect our recruitment this year is that it will be carried out exclusively ‘on-line’ via Zoom video conferencing due to the lockdown/ social distancing measures currently in place. Various experiments are currently underway to redesign our voice trial, to ensure that we are able to offer a fair and balanced test to each applicant using an online platform.
If you know of a Catholic family who might be interested in this wonderful opportunity, please share this information with them. Full details of choristerships at the Metropolitan Cathedral, alongside application forms and voice trial booking slots can be found on the Cathedral website: https://www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk/