The Power of Music in our Cathedrals this Summer

08th July 2024

Norwich Cathedral’s Organ Reborn! 2024 Festival opened over the weekend with the sound of 120 singers from not one, but three cathedral choirs in concert together.

120 singers: 3 cathedral choirs – Norwich Cathedral’s Organ Reborn! festival gets underway

Norwich Cathedral Choir was joined by Ely and Peterborough on Saturday night (6 July) for the opening event of the special nine-day festival celebrating the return of Norwich’s historic pipe organ following an ambitious £1.8m rebuild project.

Norwich Organ Reborn Music Festival

The all-East Anglian celebration from three of the country’s leading cathedral choirs started the event with music by Handel, Mozart, Rutter and more.

Ashley Grote, the Cathedral’s Master of Music, said:

“It was thrilling to begin our festival with the sound of over 120 singers from three Cathedral Choirs performing together.

“The festival is now in full swing, and we are looking forward to welcoming large numbers of people to the cathedral throughout the week.
“It will be wonderful to have high-profile groups such as the BBC Singers and the Britten Sinfonia with us, and there are many other concerts and events to enjoy, not least our free family Battle of the Organs concert on Saturday morning!”

The festival also includes headline concerts from world-leading ensembles, the BBC Singers and Britten Sinfonia, Choral Evensong will be broadcast live at 3pm on Wednesday 10 July, the BBC Singers concert will be broadcast live at 7.30pm on Thursday 11 July, and a recital by organ star and social media sensation Anna Lapwood on Friday 12 July will be recorded for broadcast on Tuesday 16 July at 7.30pm.

And this Saturday (13 July), the festival finale concert will see Britten Sinfonia team up with the Norwich Cathedral Choir for an extra special concert featuring the music of Fauré, Poulenc and Duruflé.

The Organ Reborn! 2024 Festival runs until Sunday 14 July 2024. See the full festival line-up here.

Three cathedral choirs combine for the Southern Cathedrals Festival

This week too sees the bringing together of the renowned choirs of Chichester, Salisbury and Winchester cathedrals for the Southern Cathedrals Festival.

Starting on Wednesday (10 July) this festival offers sacred choral and organ music alongside a wide variety of cultural experiences including The Fringe which pitches together the Lay Clerks and Organists of Winchester Cathedra creating musical entertainment with Psalm You Win, Psalm You Lose.

Elsewhere there are services of welcome and blessing, Mattins, a Festal Eucharist, Choral Evensong, a piano and soprano recital, and a screening of the 1925 silent movie classic ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in Winchester Cathedral, brought to life with live improvised organ soundtrack by Jonathan Hope on the cathedral’s newly renovated organ.

There’s a Come and Sing Fauré Requiem workshop led by Bob Chilcott, British composer and conductor, for singers to prepare for that evening’s Come and Sing Faure Requiem concert and a talk by Katherine Dienes-Williams; Organist and Master of the Choristers, Guildford Cathedral (Organ Scholar at Winchester 1991).

The final event is the festival concert sung by the combined choirs of Winchester, Salisbury and Chichester cathedrals alongside the Southern Cathedrals Festival Brass Ensemble.

Advanced booking is advised for many of the events. You can get tickets here.

Community chorus gets ready to raise the roof in Wells Cathedral in Beethoven celebration

And in Wells Cathedral, a community chorus of over 100 singers will come together to sing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy In celebration of the 200th anniversary since the first performance of his 9th Symphony.

Singing enthusiasts young and old came together over the weekend for an intensive two days of rehearsals and will be accompanied by the Bristol Classical Players with conductor Tom Gauterin and four professional soloists for the concert.

Wells Cathedral Oratorio Society is delighted to be collaborating with WOWFest for this event as part of its new drive to bring exciting choral music to Somerset.

This ambitious cultural project for the city of Wells has received support from Arts Council England, Wells City Council and the Elmgrant Trust.

The concert will join worldwide celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the first performance of this iconic work, which was a landmark in the history of classical music and Western art.

The director of WOWFest Tamsin Smith said:

“We intend to promote joy, unity, cohesion and wellbeing in our community through an inclusive and accessible performance of a work that forms such a significant part of our cultural heritage.”

The final concert in Wells Cathedral on Saturday 20 July at 7pm will be free with retiring donations.

Photos – Bill Smith, Norwich Cathedral