Cathedral Choir

The St Mary’s Cathedral Choir

St Mary’s Cathedral Choir is acknowledged as the oldest musical ensemble in Australia still in operation. With a history dating from 1818, the Choir specialises in singing plainchant, Renaissance polyphony by composers such as Palestrina and Victoria, and sacred music by contemporary composers.

The Choir provides music at Vespers and Mass in the Cathedral every day except Fridays during term-time, making it one of only two Cathedral choirs in the world to continue such a rhythm of worship. When its busy liturgical schedule permits, St Mary’s Cathedral Choir continues to reach new audiences through recordings, broadcasts, concerts, and tours. The boys who sing in the upper parts of the Choir are known as the Choristers, and are aged 9–14. St Mary’s is the only Roman Catholic Cathedral in Australia with an on-site Choir School where the 24 boy Choristers are educated. Membership in the Choir offers boys a disciplined musical education which is unparalleled in Australia.

The Choristers have appeared in concerts with the Brandenburg Orchestra and Sydney Youth Orchestra and in 2011, the Cathedral Choir travelled to Rome where it sang for His Holiness Pope Benedict.

In addition to rehearsal and Mass on Sunday mornings, the Choristers rehearse four mornings a week before school and sing at a rehearsal and Mass on two weekday evenings. Choristers receive individual singing tuition and continue study of another musical instrument.

Supporting the Choristers are 12 Lay Clerks of the Cathedral Choir who sing the alto, tenor, and bass parts. The Lay Clerks are professional singers; some also teach music and singing, or sing in other ensembles, while others work additional jobs in unrelated fields. In addition to their work with the full Choir, the Lay Clerks sing for some occasions as an independent ensemble.

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