Musical celebration of St Cecilia
On Wednesday evening, November 21, we welcomed Jubilate! Chamber Choir and the Voices Together Community Choir along with visitors and members and supporters of The Corrymeela Community.
These two choirs, along with our own Girls’ choir, gave us a wonderful concert of hope and celebration on the Eve of St Cecilia’s Day.
There were also poems and reflections from the Very Rev Stephen Forde, Dean of Belfast and Pádraig Ó Tuama, renowned poet and leader of the Corrymeela Community.
St Cecilia, born in the second century, is a famous Roman Martyr. As Patron Saint of Music, a number of musical compositions are dedicated to her, and her feast day, November 22, has become the occasion for concerts and musical festivals.
The concert in St Anne’s Cathedral raised funds for the mission and ministry of the Cathedral, and supported the Corrymeela Community, Northern Ireland’s oldest centre for peace and reconciliation based on the north coast.
The Cathedral Girls’ Choir was formed in 2012 and consists of 20 girls aged 11-18 from various schools in Belfast. They sing Choral Evensong on Mondays and Wednesdays and both the Eucharist and Evensong every other Sunday.
Both Jubilate! And Voices Together were founded by Dave Stewart, a former student at the School of Music at Queen’s University, Belfast.
Jubilate! was established in 1987, originally as a youth choir. It became an independent choir in 1994.
Voices Together is an inclusive community choir which draws its membership from a wide range of backgrounds in Northern Ireland. Voices Together celebrates ‘the music in diversity and the diversity in music’, and the programme on November 21 included spirituals, contemporary gospel, protest songs, and African folk melodies.
Belfast Cathedral and Corrymeela have a well-established working relationship and both Dean Stephen Forde and Pádraig Ó Tuama are keen to further reconciliation and outreach in Belfast.
In his words of welcome in the concert programme, Pádraig said: “Music is the language of the heart, and we are so moved to have skill and practice and warmth and harmony of the three choirs.
“Music lifts us towards God, and moves us towards each other. When people sing, their hearts begin to beat together, we being to breathe at the same time.
“This community of melody and breathing is a demonstration of what our community can be, when we are joined together in the diversity of our voices.”
Welcoming the visiting choirs and the audience in the programme, Dean Forde said: “This is a chance to demonstate how music can join different voices in a shared harmony.”
The concert was very well attended, and included refreshments during a short interval.