News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
- A LOOK BACK AT OUR COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE
Canon Anthony O’Brien – Cathedral Dean
After a rain soaked May we are looking forward to a sunnier and more active month of June as we continue to move towards a further stage along the roadmap of re-opening. If the level of infection remains at the current low level we hope to return to a fuller timetable of weekday and weekend services from the first Sunday in July.
This will mean that the Crypt Chapel and Halls will be re-open after 15 months of closure. And we will also be able to return to using the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for some of our daily Masses. Both priests and parishioners have missed being able to celebrate Mass in the smaller chapels within the Cathedral and it will be a welcome return to be able to pray together within these chapels again as a community. It will also mean that we will be able to open up all our facilities to welcome visitors and other groups to our Cathedral once again.
The Diocesan Synod is due to take place on the weekend 19/20th June. With the final gathering for a celebratory Mass taking place here at the Cathedral at 3.00 pm on Sunday afternoon. The organ builders have now completed their work stripping out the organ and hopefully by then the internal scaffolding will have been removed and the building will once again be obstacle free and looking it’s best. However we will be without the grand organ to create a fitting glorious accompaniment to any choral singing.
We continue to pray for the work of the Synod and for the pastoral life of our Diocese as we emerge from the restrictions of this last year.
Voice trials to begin at Cathedral
by Dr Christopher McElroy Director of Music, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
The Summer term is traditionally our time for recruitment. Our boy and girl choristers each serve around 5-6 years singing. Many of them then move onto our Youth Choir, enabling them to continue contributing to the musical life of the Cathedral.
The age range of our boy choristers is 7 years old to 12/13 years old, and for our girls it is 10 years old to 16 years old. Eagle-eyed readers will note that whilst the boys and girls both serve around 5-6 years, the boys usually start their choristership at seven years old, and the girls at 10 years old. The reason for this is biological. Boys' voices will begin to change around the age of 12/13, transitioning from a high pitched voice, to a lower pitched voice. Once this transition is complete a boy can no longer sing the high notes of a treble, so then usually takes the opportunity to join the Youth Choir as a tenor or bass (the lower male voice parts in a four-part choir.) Girls do not have a voice change like boys. Their voices remain high pitched generally throughout their life.
During the pandemic, the Cathedral has put a great deal of effort into engaging with our choristers (largely on Zoom) to ensure their continued musical, spiritual and educational development. However, nothing can replace choristers who are steeped in 4/5 years of singing the Opus Dei (the Work of God) at the daily choral services in the Cathedral. A significant challenge over the coming weeks, months and years will be to restore the choir to the pre-pandemic routine of daily choral singing at Cathedral liturgies.
On June 22/23 we will be holding our annual voice trials (auditions) for new choristers to begin here at the Cathedral in September. We are looking for boys currently in year 2/3 (who will be in years 3/4 in September) and girls currently in year 5 (who will be in year 6 in September.) We are looking for children who enjoy singing, enjoy working with others, seek to excel on a daily basis and show some musical aptitude. In return, the Cathedral seeks to provide the very best musical education along with unique opportunities to take part in numerous liturgies, concerts, tours and broadcasts on radio and TV.
If you know of a boy or girl who might be interested, please direct them to the Cathedral website, where they will be able to find out more details and book a voice trial.