Pope Saint John Paul II’s Anniversary concerts in Gozo and Malta

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Pope Saint John Paul II's Anniversary concerts in Gozo and MaltaThe 29th Anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul II’s visit to Gozo and Malta, is being commemorated by the JP2 Foundation, by hosting the Brecon Cathedral Choir on the islands.

The choir, who are from Wales in the UK, will perform two concerts; the first concert is taking place on Monday, the 27th of May, at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Ghajnsielem, starting at 7.30pm. The second concert will be at Our Lady of Sorrow Parish Church St. Paul’s Bay in Malta, on Tuesday, the 28th of May, starting at 7.00pm.

The programme will include music by Weir, Rheinberger, Parry, Stanford, Parsons and Gibbons. Directed by Stephen Power and accompanied on the organ by Jon Pilgrim

The present members of Brecon Cathedral Choir are today’s successors in the long line of musicians who have enhanced the worship at this holy place for over 900 years. A Norman Benedictine Priory was founded on the site in 1093, and would have resounded to the chant of generations of monks singing ‘the office’.

In 1537, at the time of the Dissolution of the monasteries, the Priory became the Parish Church and remained so until its elevation to Cathedral status in 1923. Throughout this time music would have played an important part in the liturgy and worship.

There are currently between 14 and 18 choristers, children aged between 8 and 13 who sing the Soprano or Treble line in the choir. They attend local schools and come to the cathedral to rehearse after school on three afternoons every week during term time and sing an early evening service (usually Evensong) on Fridays in addition to two choral services on Sundays.

The Brecon Cathedral Choir Trust was set up in 2003, with the aim of ’empowering young people through the gift of music’, enabling the choristers to receive free music tuition.

The adults and teenagers who sing alto, tenor and bass in the choir are called Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars. They rehearse on Thursday evenings and join with the choristers to sing evensong on Fridays and for the two Sunday services.

They do so as volunteers, and some travel considerable distances in Wales to sing with the choir on a regular basis.

In addition to singing for cathedral services and concerts, the choir undertakes recordings, broadcasts and tours. Tours over the last ten years have included visits to sing at Ripon Cathedral, York Minster, Blaubeuren in Germany, Glasgow, Edinburgh, the French Loire Valley and the Italian region of Tuscany.

On leaving the choir at the end of year 8, Choristers are invited to join the cathedral Consort, a smaller chamber choir which sings Evensong on Thursdays, rehearsing on a Tuesday evening. New members are always welcome to try out in all voice parts.

The General Public is invited to attend these commemoration concerts.

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