On Sunday 3rd May 2018, the feast of Corpus Christi, St Mary’s choir sang Solemn High Mass and Choral Vespers at The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, in Liverpool. Twenty members of the choir, plus a small number of helpers from other choirs within Tynedale, made the short weekend trip by coach to Liverpool accompanied by Fr. Christopher Warren, who concelebrated at Mass, and some stalwart supporters from the parish.
Visiting choirs are welcomed when the cathedral choir are on holiday (and this was half-term), so this was a wonderful opportunity for our choir to flex their musical muscles and sing some ambitious and challenging church music that wouldn’t normally be heard in an ordinary parish setting. And it certainly was a challenge: the standard of music at the cathedral is very high, and it’s quite a difficult building to sing in – the space is huge and the echo is second only to St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Nevertheless the choir, after all their hard work rehearsing, sung superbly and there was some lovely feedback from the congregation. The music sung included a mass setting by the French composer Charles Gounod, the motet O Sacrum Convivium by the Flemish renaissance composer Jacob Arcadelt, the very familiar Panis Angelicus of Cesar Franck. Whilst at vespers they sang a Magnificat by the Irish composer Charles Stanford, and to conclude, the poignant Ave Maria by the Tudor composer Robert Parsons, sung from the lady chapel.
When not singing, the choir took in the sights, cafes and bars of Liverpool, and on Saturday night enjoyed dinner in an appropriately noisy and chaotic Italian restaurant. All in all a very successful weekend, with the choir already discussing where and when the next one will be!