Live Broadcast of Organ Music for Advent and Christmas from Westminster Cathedral

Live radio broadcasts of organ recitals are something of a rarity and this is one you should try not to miss. Martin Baker will be giving a recital at Westminster Cathedral tomorrow evening (Sunday) which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The programme begins with the opening movement of Dupré’s Passion Symphony, ‘The world awaiting the Saviour’. The symphony was first conceived as an improvisation on the mighty Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia. Each of the four movements was based on a plainchant theme, this first movement being based on the Christmas hymn ‘Jesu redemptor omnium’. After an opening of relentless hammering chords and irregular rhythms, representing the world before Christ, the Gregorian melody emerges to instil calm, before the turbulent opening returns, threatening to engulf the plainchant. However, the hymn wins out, closing the work in a spectacular toccata with the melody triumphant in a prominent canon between manuals and pedals. Following the improvisation in Philadelphia, Dupré wrote the piece down and gave its first performance as a written composition at Westminster Cathedral in 1924. Martin Baker’s recital continues with J.S. Bach’s Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, based on an Advent Chorale, and closes with Messiaen’s set of nine Christmas Meditations, La Nativité du Seigneur, written in 1935. Tune in if you can – I don’t know if BBC Radio 3 is available over the internet outside the UK, but the programme begins tomorrow evening, Sunday 1 December at 8.00pm GMT. If you are in London, you might like to hear it live at the Cathedral. Admission is free, see the poster for details.

Westminster Cathedral Choir sings Mozart’s Requiem

Cross-posted from NLM: a concert performance of the Mozart Requiem will be sung by Westminster Cathedral Choir on Wednesday 13th November 2013 at 7.30pm. The full programme and details are below:

Mozart, Adagio and Fugue for Strings K546

J S Bach, Komm Jesu komm, BWV 229
Mozart, Ave verum corpus K618
Mozart, Requiem (Mozart/Sussmeyer version)

Westminster Cathedral Choir and Orchestra
Conducted by Martin Baker, Master of Music
Sophie Bevan soprano
Frances Bourne alto
Robert Murray tenor
David Soar bass

Tickets available from or from the Cathedral Gift Shop (priced £10 – £40)

Children’s Choirs

Chant Café readers will be well aware of the importance of Children’s Choirs for nurturing and developing the young through music and catechesis and for introducing them to Chant and other music worthy of the Liturgy. I invited NLM readers to submit details of choirs for children which I posted over there recently and I have reposted the list below. I hope that ultimately we can turn this into a directory on an official page somewhere. If you know of any choirs not yet listed, please add the details in the comments box. So far we have choirs in the USA, Canada and parts of Europe. Here is the list so far:

UNITED STATES (State alphabetical)

St. Clare of Assisi: a new children’s choir for students in grades 3-8, forming on the west side of the Diocese of Phoenix Arizona. The choir will specialize in Gregorian chant and sacred music. Contact is Director of Music Matthew J. Meloche

St Stephen the First Martyr Church: boys and girls are taught Gregorian chant and theory, modern notation and classic repertoire, theory and solfege. Choir is directed by Jeffrey Morse, a distinguished Chant expert and fine musician who many will know from CMAA Colloquiums. Contact Jeffrey Morse

Corpus Christi: The St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum offers a music education and choral experience which includes instruction in sight singing, theory, Catholic catechesis and Gregorian chant. The St. Cecilia Choir (7+ years) and the Mary’s Angels Choir (under age 7) rehearse on Friday afternoons. Open to non-parish members. Contact the director, Valerie Nicolosi, at Website

St Mary’s: Director of Music David Hughes, a key CMAA figure and leading Catholic musician has a huge music programme involving a number of choirs with excellent opportunities for children. Contact David Hughes Website

St John Cantius: The Holy Innocents Choir has nearly 100 children. Gregorian Chant and modern notation are taught, as well as catechesis. Rehearsals on Saturdays, sings at OF and EF Masses, Propers and Ordinaries; polyphonic mass settings; motets and hymns. Also occasionally sings the Divine Office with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. Contact Director Br. Chad McCoy, SJC, email Website

Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church: Schola Cantorum founded three years ago as an “after school choir school.” 25 choristers and 8 probationers (lower parts are choral scholars from the local university) directed by Lucas Tappan. The Schola sings every other week for the sacred liturgy as well as for concerts and tours. This year the students will be recording their first CD. Contact Lucas Tappan Website

Regina Caeli Schola Cantorum: a Gregorian Chant class for children grade 3-8. Rehearsals on Mondays. Contact the Director Mia Coyne Website

St Jane Frances de Chantal: Parish Children’s Choir for children grade 3-8, rehearses on Wednesday evenings and sings for Sunday 10am Mass. Gregorian Chant and Hymns. Director Mia Coyne Website

St Paul’s, Harvard Square: home to the renowned St Paul’s Choir School, one of two Catholic Choir Schools in the USA. Musical boys in 3rd grade should apply for entry at 4th grade. Contact John Robinson, Director of Music 617-868-8658 Information Website

St Benedict’s: Children’s Schola for boys and girls grades 2-8, directed by Sandra Eller, to study sight reading skills using solfege, and sing Latin and English chant in modern and Gregorian notation. Rehearses Wednesday evenings, sings for Sunday Mass once a month. Contact Director Sandra Eller Website

Cathedral of St Paul: The Cathedral Choir School of Minnesota is an after-school program at the Cathedral on Wednesdays for Choristers in grades K-12, beginning with Benediction and concluding with Mass. Contact Jayne Windnagel Website

St Martin of Tours: a new children’s choir focusing on Chant and polyphony directed by Mary Pentecost, weekly rehearsals (Thursdays) and singing at a monthly Mass. Auditions for children in Grades 3-12. Contact Mary Pentecost (314) 544-5664 Information Website

Cathedral of St Helena: The St Cecilia Choir for boys and girls aged 7-15 sings once a month at the 11am Mass with weekly rehearsals on Tuesdays. Website

A new youth schola (12+ years old) directed by Dr. Patricia Warren to compliment Schola Vox Clara, a Schola which serves the Extraordinary Form in the Diocese of Raleigh. Weekly rehearsals to sing for one EF Mass per month to start. Mixed voices, and gentlemen with both unchanged and changed voices are welcome. No prior choral experience is necessary. Contact Dr. Patricia Warren,
Director, Schola Vox Clara

St Catherine of Siena: home of the Manhattan Catholic Children’s Choir for children aged 8-14, directed by Julie Woodin. Contact Information Website

Holy Family: Schola Cantorum sings at a weekly Diocesan Extraordinary Form Mass. Its members are girls and young women ages 14-23, who sing Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony alone, and occasionally with a men’s Schola (in formation). Contact Fr. Stephen Concordia O.S.B. Website

Madeleine Cathedral: The Madeleine Choir School, a superb Cathedral Choir directed by Gregory Glenn with vocal training from Melanie Malinka, both inspirational musicians who are well-known to those who have attended the Colloquium the past two years in Salt Lake. Website

St James the Greater: a number of children’s choirs – Sacred Heart Choir for Kindergarten-Grade2, Saint Cecilia Choir for girls grades 3-8, Saint Gregory Choir for boys grades 3-8, Archangelus Chorale for high school students and Holy Trinity Ensemble, and auditioned choir for grades 5-12. Contact Director of Music Gary Penkala Website

Basilica of St Josaphat: a new children’s choir is being formed. Contact Christopher Berry Director of Music Website

The American Federation of Pueri Cantores Website


St John the Evangelist: Sacred Heart Choir School is a program for homeschooling boys and girls in grades 3-12 based at St John’s, an Ordinariate Parish. Classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact the Principal, Paul Hudec Website

St Michael’s Cathedral: St Michael’s Choir School for boys has three choirs which sing at the Cathedral: Elementary Choir (Grades 3 & 4), Junior Choir (Grades 5 & 6), Senior Choir (Grades 7-12). Contact Website

Oratory of St Philip Neri: The Oratory Children’s Choir – Children learn chanted ordinaries of the mass, English propers in psalm-tone and 2-pt fauxbourdon and motets from Medieval to 19th Century repertoire. Grade 4-12. Contact Oratory Music Director, Philip Fournier: Website


Notre Dame de L’Assomption 1er: Les Petits Chanteurs de Passy for boys and girls aged 8-14. Rehearses Fridays and Saturdays, sings polyphony with adult back row. Contact Website

Saint-Eugène – Sainte-Cécile 9e: Les Petits Chantres de Sainte-Cécile, a new choir for children launches at the end of September 2013. Rehearsals on Saturday afternoons. Contact the Director, Clotilde de Nedde Facebook Website

St Bavo Cathedral: The Koorschool is a Choir School for boys and girls from age 8. Contact Website

London Oratory SW7: The London Oratory Junior Choir for boys and girls aged 8-16 directed by Charles Cole. Three rehearsals per week and two services including the Sunday 10am Mass. Gregorian Chant Propers and Ordinary, motets from Medieval/Renaissance through to present day. Also sings for the Royal Ballet’s productions at Covent Garden. Contact Information Website

St Anselm’s TN2: Ordinariate SATB choir with some children which sings plainchant and polyphony directed by the composer Antony Pitts. Rehearses Thursday evenings and sings Solemn Mass on Sundays and Feastdays. Contact Parish Priest +44 1892 825009 Website