St Mary’s Cathedral Choir will sing for Pope Francis on Sunday, the highlight of a European music tour in the choir’s 200th anniversary year.
St Mary’s Cathedral College Year 4 students Andrew Alexander, Benjamin Hanna, Robert Fehlberg and Liam O’Hara are the youngest members of the choir. They flew to join their peers from Years 5 to 7 in Rome for the Italian leg of a tour that included performances by the Choir’s senior students at a Gregorian chant festival in Antwerp.
The students will sing at the Papal Mass on Pentecost Sunday. They will also sing in the Sistine Chapel, and at concerts and mass in Siena and Florence during the 10-day tour.
Andrew said he was happy to go on his first tour. “I feel really excited, I can’t wait,” he said.
Benjamin agreed. “I’m really hyped for going to Rome,” he said. “I think the best thing will be to sing for the Pope.
“We’ve had lots of rehearsals. We rehearse every day.”
Robert said the music selected included many hymns.
“All of the music we’re singing is in a blue book,” he said. “I feel nervous of singing in front of the Pope.”
The choir was established in 1818 by Irish schoolteacher Catherine Fitzpatrick to provide music at Catholic liturgies in the NSW colony. She became the choir’s first conductor when St Mary’s Chapel became a cathedral with the arrival of Bishop Polding in 1835.
St Mary’s Cathedral College continues to support the cathedral’s musical tradition, with about 40 of the college’s 740 students among the cathedral choir’s ranks.
Primary students in Years 3 to 6 are either in the choir or take advanced music study, and choir members commit to daily rehearsals, Sunday mass and special performances. They get very extensive music and singing training, and often play an instrument.
Liam said he enjoyed being part of something with such a rich history.
“It feels great,” he said.
The choir has sung for Pope Francis!
See their performance in the video below.