On Sunday November 23 St George’s Parish Choir swapped places with the St Anne’s Cathedral Choir for all the choral services in both churches.
Dr Emma Gibbons, Musical Director of St George’s, in High Street, Belfast, and St Anne’s Master of Choristers, David Stevens, have collaborated with a number of choir projects over the past couple of years, but this was something new and special and without doubt a great success.
Both choirs enjoyed the experience of singing in a building that was very different in both acoustics and size. The way in which the liturgy is ordered in each place is not that dissimilar, which helped the choirs to orientate themselves quickly, and each seemed naturally at home.
In the Cathedral there was much chat after the morning service with and about the St George’s Choir after Emma’s fabulous voluntary, and warm tribute must also be paid to Donal, the St George’s organ scholar, who played for the rest of the service. The boys clearly enjoyed singing one of their favourite motets – the Alan Smith setting of ‘Alleluia, sing to Jesus’ – in the reverberant atmosphere of the Cathedral, and it came over very well.
Later, at evensong in St George’s, the fabulous Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, Wood in E flat No 2 filled the church, and the growing majesty of the Nunc Dimittis was beautifully sung as always by St Anne’s Choir, not to mention the anthem ‘O thou the central orb.’
Afterwards the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann, commented: “We must do this again!”