St Anne’s establishes cross–community choir school project in north Belfast

Monday October 14th 2013

Dean John Mann, Belfast Cathedral.St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, has been re–structuring its music department, having established a girls’ choir and actively seeking to recruit boys for a newly constituted boys’ choir. 

As a central part of this project, the Cathedral is pleased to announce that it is to create an ecumenical and cross–community ‘Choir School.’ This does not mean building and establishing a brand new school, but (on the pattern of St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds) it is forming a strong musical relationship with three local schools.

The schools, in neighbouring north Belfast, are Edenbrooke Primary, Sacred Heart Boys’ Primary and Cliftonville Integrated School.

All three schools are to have one or more of the Cathedral’s professional singing teachers in the school virtually every day; teaching singing in every class in each school every week. The Cathedral offers this musical outreach into the community not only to train boys and girls to sing to such a standard that some will have the opportunity to sing in the Cathedral Choir, in due course, but to give of the Cathedral’s musical expertise to the community, of which it is a part, such as would be done by the Ulster Orchestra and Belfast School of Music.

The Dean of St Anne’s, The Very Rev John Mann, said: “I believe that St Anne’s should not only have an open door to the people of Belfast, but an intent to take what we have been given in abundance to share with everyone – and especially with children.

“The Choir School project is close to my heart and will happen because of the vision of our musicians, the enthusiasm of the schools and the faith and courage of the Cathedral Board to resource it.”

The official, formal launch of this exciting new initiative for the City of Belfast and St Anne’s Cathedral – at which children from the three schools involved will sing – will take place in November.

The principals of the schools have endorsed the project warmly. Mr J Manning, Principal of Edenbrooke Primary School, said: “We are excited about the amazing opportunity that the cathedral singing project will provide for our pupils both musically and educationally. This will provide our pupils with expert singing tuition in school but also the chance to be part of the cathedral choirs. All of the school community is looking forward to getting started!”

The Principal of Sacred Heart Boys’ Primary School, Mrs Patricia Quinn, said staff and pupils of Sacred Heart Primary School were delighted to be invited to participate in this new programme organised by St Anne’s Cathedral. “This opportunity to be taught by professional musicians will give the boys more confidence and enhance their singing,” she said.

“The boys are very enthusiastic about this programme and are looking forward to visiting St Anne’s Cathedral over the coming months. I would like to thank the Dean of Belfast for offering Sacred Heart Primary School this marvellous opportunity and hope that the boys flourish from this experience.”

Ms Brenda McMullen, principal of Cliftonville Integrated School, said: “The staff and I are genuinely delighted that music specialists from Belfast Cathedral will come into school to work with our children and teachers.

“We are very privileged to have been selected and welcome the musicians into Cliftonville with open arms. There are many great singers in Cliftonville Integrated Primary School and they will benefit hugely from the enormous support the Cathedral will provide. We can hardly wait for the project to start .”

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