A big Black Santa thank you!

A big Black Santa thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who supported our Black Santa Appeal 2017. Donations are still being counted, and while in the absence of a Dean we never expected to exceed last year’s total of more than £200,000, we are delighted that the sum collected so far is well in excess of £110,000.


New Assistant Organist joins Cathedral staff

New Assistant Organist joins Cathedral staff

A warm welcome to Dr Ed Jones who has joined the Music Department of St Anne’s Cathedral as Assistant Organist.

Ed comes to us from Exeter Cathedral, where he was Organ Scholar. Born and bred in Aberdeen, Ed began playing the organ when he was at Aberdeen University where he did a Music Degree followed by a PhD in Choral Composition.

While he was studying, Ed played in a parish church where both the organ and choir were small, but it was here he learned much about Anglican Liturgy.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours from the University of Aberdeen in 2011. During his time as an undergraduate, he was awarded the Ogston Music Making Award, the Chris Cadwur James Composition Award and he is the only music student ever to be awarded the Aberdeen City Quincentenary Prize.

Ed finished his studies for a PhD in Musical Composition at the University of Aberdeen in 2015 where his research and compositions focused on vocal works.

He was appointed Assistant Organist to The Cathedral Church of St Andrew in Aberdeen where he enjoyed the capabilities of the larger organ and choir and the larger building. In 2014 he moved to Blackburn Cathedral as Organ Scholar.

This was a full time post and as well as working with more choirs and playing at more services, Ed was also involved in an outreach project in local schools, something he really enjoyed.

After a year at Blackburn Ed moved to Exeter Cathedral as Organ Scholar.

As a conductor, he has worked with a wide variety of groups from the choir at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Aberdeen and Con Anima Chamber Choir, and has been musical director to fully staged operas within the University of Aberdeen.

Ed said he was very excited to be at Belfast Cathedral.

“I am looking forward to working here. It is nice to come to a place where things are vibrant and busy and very much on the up. In a lot of places this is not the case in terms of choral music.”

He has been discussing plans for the future with Master of the Choristers David Stevens and Organ scholar Jack Wilson. As well as being the Cathedral’s Principal Organist – his first services are on January 7 – Ed will be responsible for the junior girls’ choir.

“I would like to establish a link with the University and would also like to set up a voluntary choir made up of students and others who cannot commit to a full schedule, and I will also be dealing with visiting choirs,” he said.

Ed succeeds Organist Ian Barber and Assistant Master of the Choristers Thérèse Woodfield who left the Cathedral at the end of 2017. His role is an amalgamation of the two.

David Stevens said: “Ed has a wide range of experience which will enable him to continue and build on the excellent work done by Ian and Thérèse, and I’m sure he’ll quickly become a valued member of the St Anne’s team.”


  • Choral Evensong on Wednesday January 10 at 5.30pm will be a celebration of former Organist Ian Barber’s contribution to music in St Anne’s Cathedral over the past 35 years. The service will be followed by a presentation and refreshments. Everyone is very welcome.
Catch up with NVTV reports on Sit-out

Catch up with NVTV reports on Sit-out

An NVTV camera crew joined us on December 18 for the launch of Black Santa 2017.

Their subsequent report looks back on this great Belfast tradition, which marked its 41st year, collected some thoughts from Dean-Elect Stephen Forde who was on the steps as Black Santa in training, and also quizzed the clergy on their plans for Christmas Day.

The report was broadcast as part of NVTV’s news programme Focal Point on December 20 and repeated on December 22.

You can catch it at  http://www.nvtv.co.uk/on-demand/click on Focal Point for either of those dates. On December 20 the report begins at 9 minutes 46 seconds and on December 22 it is repeated at 17 minutes 35 seconds into the programme.

Take a look – you will see some familiar faces!