Cathedral's Acclaimed Scholars to Give Special Concert in Crypt

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
3 Sep 2015

Each of the Cathedral Scholars joined St Mary's Cathedral Choir as young choristers and trebles

Next week St Mary's Cathedral Scholars will give a concert in the Cathedral Crypt. The acclaimed elite group of 13 young singers will sing a diverse program that will include 17th century works from the English, Italian and Spanish Renaissance, music by French composer Gabriel Faure as well as contemporary favourites such as John Lennon's "Imagine" and "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables.

Another highlight of the concert will be the Cathedral Scholars performing a powerful arrangement of the Negro Spiritual "Steal Away."   

"The Crypt has superb acoustics and is a visually stunning setting for a musical evening," says Oliver Brett, Assistant Director of Music St Mary's Cathedral.

Under Oliver's direction over the past several weeks, the Scholars have been rehearsing for their big night which will be held in the Crypt on Thursday, 10 September.

Not only does each member of the group have a strong musical background, but each one originally joined St Mary's Cathedral College and St Mary's Cathedral Choir as trebles. Selected for their musical aptitude, the boys were in Year 5 when they were awarded chorister scholarships which enabled them to sing in the Choir and attend the College.

While many schools are known for their sporting prowess or their academic achievements, St Mary's Cathedral College is known throughout Australia for its outstanding music program which is overseen by the Cathedral's Director of Music, Thomas Wilson.

The Scholars sing Vespers each Wednesday and Saturday at St Mary's Cathedral and also sing Mass twice a month

Not only is St Mary's Cathedral Choir the oldest and most famous choir in Australia but its treble singers are renowned worldwide.  But it wasn't until 2011 that Thomas Wilson created the Scholars, an outstanding choir made up of former choristers whose voices are now changing or have changed.

"Each of the boys has had considerable experience from their time in the Cathedral Choir as well as excellent musical training. We are very proud of them and the concert in the Crypt is a chance for music lovers to see and hear the Scholars in action," says Oliver.

Since their formation as a Cathedral choir, the Scholars have performed in master-classes with the King's Singers, Stephen Cleobury and have toured Wagga Wagga and Brisbane. They have also performed in a re-creation of the Venetian Coronation under conductor Paul McGreesh and have sung for Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York. The Scholars also sang at the funeral of former Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Edward Clancy which was held at St Mary's Cathedral in August last year.

The Scholars also sang Vespers in the Cathedral in November last year at the Installation of the ninth Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP.

During Holy Week this year the Scholars were part of a special Lenten concert. The concert of  choral and organ music featured the Cathedral's Director of Music, Thomas Wilson, who is renowned as not nly ne of Australia's best choral conductors but also as an accomplished organist. The Scholars performed Gregorian chant and polyphony to complement the program of organ music, in an unforgettable evening at the Cathedral.

Each week the Cathedral Scholars also sing Vespers each Wednesday and Saturday along with two Saturday Masses each month.

Once their voices begin to change the Cathedral's young trebles can continue to sing and become members of the Scholars

Next Thursday, 10 September will mark the first time the Scholars have given a recital in the Crypt and the evening promises to be one that appeals to people of all ages with a program that spans more than 450 years of sacred as well as contemporary music.

The first half of the Concert will feature the music of Byrd, Tallis, Palestrina, Victoria and Cavalli. Included in this half will be movements from each of William Byrd's three Mass settings as well as Calvalli's much-loved setting of the Salve Regina.

The second half of the Concert will begin with music by French composer Gabriel Faure and be followed by contemporary favourites including "What a Wonderful World" made famous by Louis Armstrong.

The Scholars Concert in the Crypt of St Mary's Cathedral will be held at 7pm on Thursday, 10 September. Tickets are available from or at the door and cost $30 for adults and $10 for students and children.

Proceeds from the Concert will go towards the purchase of new cassocks for the fast-growing teenage members of the Scholars.