ELY Cathedral Boys’ Choir delighted an audience alongside choristers from Norwich and Peterborough to commemorate three major centenaries.
The concert, held at Norwich Cathedral on May 24th as part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival, was organised to celebrate three of this year’s centenaries – the birth of Leonard Bernstein, the death of Hubert Parry and the founding of the Choir Schools’ Association. The evening also included the world première of a work by Alex Woolf, Dark Sayings, which Alex wrote specifically for the event.
The programme also included Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, which is significant as this year marks his 100th birthday. Hubert Parry, the English composer who gave us Jerusalem, died on 7 October 1918 and the programme featured two of his anthems including I Was Glad – one of the most rousing and popular anthems of all time. Vaughn Williams, Holst and Ireland, all pupils of Parry, were also included in the programme.
Ely’s, Norwich’s and Peterborough’s cathedral choirs are all members of the Choir Schools’ Association (CSA), which was formed by the headmasters of St Paul’s Cathedral School, Westminster Abbey Choir School and King’s College School, Cambridge, to save choir schools from new Government regulations governing the employment of children about to be introduced by the Fisher Education Act.
Fortunately, cathedral choristers were excluded from the legislation and the three founding schools were quickly joined by schools all over the country including King’s Ely, King’s School Peterborough and Norwich School. The Association’s centenary celebrations were launched earlier this month (May) with a Special Evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral.