The beginnings of a choir of men and boys at St Paul’s is recorded in 1127, when Bishop Richard de Belmeis founded what was the first choir school at St Paul’s and made provision for ‘almonry’ boys (literally poor children in need of alms) to serve the Cathedral. Since then, the choir has grown, been re-organised several times (including under Sir John Stainer), and now enjoys a world-famous reputation. And this is the choir’s inaugural blog!
We thought we’d kick off our new tradition of offering insights into the workings of a great Cathedral Choir by letting our friends know what awaits us this term. The choristers have now returned following a well-deserved Christmas break; the Vicars Choral (our professional gentlemen singers) are back in the stalls; and we’re ready to launch into some exciting ventures.
This term we have some great headlines. We’re celebrating Christian Unity Week with our Roman Catholic friends at Westminster Cathedral. St Paul’s will be singing evensong at Westminster on 20th January and they will sing Vespers at St Paul’s on the 23rd. We’re also looking forward to broadcasting evensong live on BBC Radio 3 on 4th February (3.30pm) to followers around the world. The service will feature music by Finzi, Holst, Elgar and Messiaen.
We’ve also got our Patronal Festival, a festal Evensong for old choristers, a whole day of music and prayer for Ash Wednesday, the annual United Guilds Service, and the St Matthew Passion on 26th March.
The biggest thing on our horizon is our major tour of the USA. We’re covering the East coast and central America, and are particularly looking forward to making new friends. This tour is the first of a trio – with repeat visits planned for 2018 and 2021. You’ll be hearing a lot about the tour from now until April, when we fly out. For now, why not connect with us on Twitter @StPauls Choir or Facebook?