Sydney Archdiocese report
15 Sep 2011
Sydneysiders will have the opportunity to hear a special recital by the St Mary's Cathedral Choir this weekend before they leave for a week-long series of performances in Rome.
Under the direction of Thomas Wilson, the choir will sing at the Official Opening of Domus Australia in Rome.
And for the 23 boys aged between eleven and fourteen who will be in the choir heading to the Eternal City, this Saturday night's recital will give them an opportunity to ease the nerves a little.
An initiative of the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal Pell, Domus Australia is a place where pilgrims to Rome can stay, a religious and cultural centre for travelling Australians.
Following two years of extensive renovation and restoration, Domus Australia is now open for business however the official opening will be mid-October when guests from Australia and overseas will attend a series of special events.
Cardinal Pell was always keen to have the St Mary's Cathedral Choir sing at the official opening in the beautifully restored Chapel of St Peter Chanel.
However music lovers will have the opportunity to hear the choir this Saturday night at the Cathedral when they perform a treasury of sacred music.
Called "Ave Maria" the performance will feature favourite motets by Bach, Handel, Franck, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Vivaldi and many more.
Money raised from the sale of tickets will go towards the choir's travelling expenses to Rome.
Cardinal Pell, who has always encouraged and supported the St Mary's Cathedral Choir, will be attending Saturday's recital.
Thirty boys and thirteen men will make up the choir this Saturday night, accompanied by Oliver Brett, the new Assistant Director of Music at the Cathedral. The choir will be under the Director of Music, Thomas Wilson.
Thomas said the choir is very much looking forward to Saturday night's performance but admits the Rome visit really has them excited.
"For many, they have little concept of what Rome is life, " Thomas said. "It is all a bit unimaginable to them, but they know it will be hugely exciting.
"They are awed by the history of the place and especially the idea of singing the music they know so well by composers like Palestrina, and Victoria in the churches that these composers worked in.
"It will be a spiritual and musical pilgrimage for them," he said.
Thomas said he feels extremely privileged to have the opportunity to take the choir to Rome.
"I have been there several times and conducted and performed there with various choirs but I am particularly excited about bringing this special group from Sydney to experience the rare joy of singing in the heart of the Catholic world.
"I am extremely proud of the boys and the men of the choir and I know that this trip will do an enormous amount to help them grow as church musicians. It will add a new dimension to the choir's musical expression and will cement the professionalism that we are striving always to attain.
The choir will also sing at other events during their week at Domus including a recital for the bishops of Australia who will be on their ad limina visit to Rome.
Plans are also underway for them to sing at a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Pell in St Peter's Basilica.
The boys regular morning rehearsals before school are continuing however the Rome performances mean extra rehearsals have to be scheduled around their already busy timetables.
"However they are wonderfully supported by their parents and staff of the Cathedral College," Thomas said.
Many of the boys' parents will accompany them to Rome where the official opening of Domus will be webcast live around the world via the Archdiocese of Sydney social network xt3.com