An Ex Lay Vicar Choral

Yesterday saw me hang up my choir robes for the last time, as I “retired” from the choir of Christ Church Cathedral.

I first joined the choir in 2007, and in the intervening 8 years I’ve had the privilege to be involved in very exciting things: TV and radio broadcasts, tours, ordinations, consecrations, enthronements, presidential visits, ecumenical services, concerts, and carol services.  I’ve sung in more services than I can count, with some amazing singers and talented musicians.

It’s been a great experience which will leave me with treasured memories and lifelong friendships.

However, all good things must come to an end. A while ago I came to the decision that I wanted to lessen my commitments. The choir takes up Thursday evening, and all day on Sunday – which is quite a lot of time, on top of a full-time job. I’m also concious that being in the choir restricts what we can plan to do as a couple on weekends and special occasions such as Christmas.

So, I’m taking a break from singing. It might be for a short time. It might be for a long time.  I don’t know how I’ll feel in 6 or 12 months time, but for now I’m looking forward to enjoying the extra free time.

Lay Vicar and Choral Scholar roles at Christ Church

There’s a job advert in this week’s Church Times for roles in the choir of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin.

The choir are expanding their numbers to 18 Lay Vicars and 4 Choral Scholars, and offer the unique opportunity of professional singing roles for adult Sopranos, Altos (both male and female), Tenors and Basses.  The choir currently sing three services a week on a Thursday evening and on Sunday – and the role can easily be combined with a full-time job.

Anglican Church Music

cathedral_purpleIt was back in 1998 that I set up and launched the Anglican Church Music web site, as a place to record all the website links to cathedral and church choirs that I had amassed.

Today, some 15 years later, the site is still active, but under the control of John Watkins.  He very graciously agreed to take over the maintenance and development on the site, as at the time I was too busy to do it justice.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been involved in the site. I was only involved in the first couple of years, and so I had all but forgotten about its existence – until I happened upon it again quite recently.

The current design isn’t that much different from the original site, which was hand-coded with my clunky self-taught HTML. And when I look through the site I can’t help but feel nostalgic to those early days of the web. Because back in 1998, there were only just over 100,000 .uk web sites in existence – whereas today there are over 10 million uk domains registered.

Also to put that in context, during the same period Google went from being a Stanford University research project (accessible through the domain google.stanford.edu) to one of the biggest brands in the world turning over $38 billion!

Christmas carols coming out of my ears!

Had a very successful and enjoyable Christmas carol concert at Christ Church Cathedral last night with the cathedral choir. The concert sold-out several weeks back, and I’m reliably informed by someone “in the know” that we could have sold the concert three times over! Those who did get a ticket were treated to a very nicely balanced programme of carols, topped off by a rousing rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

I’m also back in Christ Church on Saturday night with the Mornington Singers for another carol concert called Noël. That’s also selling well, although there are a few tickets left. The Morningtons were also out singing carols last night in Phibsborough, by all accounts to a delighted crowd.

Then on Sunday the cathedral has it’s service of Five Lessons and Carols, a slightly shorter version of the fully carol service. The full diocesan Nine Lessons and Carols is on Monday, but that’s a ticket-only affair, and I suspect they’re all gone!

And so, as you can imagine, I’ve got Christmas carols coming out of my ears at the moment. But do you know what, I don’t care, because they’re great fun to sing – and really help me get into the festive holiday spirit.

Singing in Dublin

As we near the end of October, so begins the rush of musical activity towards Christmas.  This year is by no means the most busy I’ve been, but I wanted to quantify (even if just for myself) all the upcoming performances over the next two months:

  • Thursday 1st November Mass for All Saints Day at Christ Church Cathedral
  • Friday 2nd November Fauré Requiem Concert with the Mornington Singers in Corpus Christi Church Drumcondra
  • Saturday 24th NovemberPillars of Heaven – the main winter concert for the Mornington Singers in Christ Church Cathedral
  • Sunday 2nd DecemberAdvent Procession – a beautiful candle-lit service of Advent carols in Christ Church Cathedral
  • Thursday 13th DecemberCathedral Choir Christmas Concert – always a very popular event in Christ Church Cathedral
  • Saturday 15th DecemberNoël! Christmas Concert – a selection of beautiful and well-loved Christmas Carols in Christ Church Cathedral
  • Sunday 16th December Five Lessons and Carols – a shorter version of the traditional carol service
  • Monday 17th DecemberNine Lessons and Carols – the official diocesan carol service – very popular and so free tickets required to get in
  • Monday 24th DecemberMidnight Mass
  • Tuesday 25th DecemberChristmas Day Eucharist

This list doesn’t even include the ‘normal’ services and rehearsals I have in between, so I’m sure I’ll be looking forward to a rest in the New Year!