News

Cathedral Choir to Sing For The Pope

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
3 May 2018

The Choir performing at St Mary's Cathedral

Australia's oldest choir sets off today for a European tour to perform with the world's oldest choir for Pope Francis.

Celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral Choir is embarking on a three-week musical tour performing with some of the world's leading choirs to mark the milestone.

Director of Music Thomas Wilson

Highlights of the tour include a performance at the 12th International Gregorian Festival of Watou, Belgium and a solemn performance at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, which is dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed in World War I.

However the performance with the Sistine Choir - the Pope's own choir -being performed at the Papal Mass on Pentecost Sunday in front of not only the Pope but televised around the world by The Vatican will be the highlight of the tour.

St Mary's Cathedral Choir's Director of Music, Thomas Wilson, said the opportunity to sing for Pope Francis will be something both he and the choir will never forget.

"It certainly is an honour performing for the Pope and one that I'm sure the boys will remember for the rest of their lives," he said.

"The Director of the Sistine Choir, Monsignor Massimo Palombella, is keen on emphasising the transcendent power of sacred choral music, and sees this as part of the mission and reach of the Sistine Choir.

"It is such a fabulous opportunity being invited to sing with the Sistine Choir at the Papal Mass on Pentecost Sunday.

"And rather wonderful that Australia's oldest musical organisation, and the world's oldest musical organisation, both happen to be Catholic liturgical choirs and have the opportunity to perform together.

The St Mary's Cathedral Choir started back in 1818 when Irish woman Catherine Fitzpatrick uprooted her young family and undertook the journey from Ireland to Australia in order to be near her convict husband.

She began training a newly-formed choir of boys - consisting mainly of her own sons - to sing European Sacred Music in the then fledgling colony of New South Wales.

The choir sang for the first Catholic services in the colony, later becoming the choir of the first St Mary's Church, and eventually the choir of St Mary's Cathedral.

Two hundred years later, the Cathedral Choir remains Australia's oldest and arguably most respected musical organisations.