Cathedral’s choral link to Presidential Inauguration

Monday January 25th 2021

Gary Davison, Composer-in-Association to Belfast Cathedral’s new Children’s Choir, with Belfast Cathedral Choir during his visit to Belfast in February last year.

Gary Davison, Composer-in-Association to Belfast Cathedral’s new Children’s Choir, with Belfast Cathedral Choir during his visit to Belfast in February last year.

Gary Davison, Composer-in-Association to Belfast Cathedral’s new Children’s Choir, had a piece of his work performed at the National Prayer Service for the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

This took place at Washington National Cathedral on January 21 in the presence of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and was watched by millions from the USA and around the world.

Mr Davison’s piece, Most glorious Lord of Life, was performed by the choir at Washington National Cathedral.

Gary Davison, Composer-in-Association to Belfast Cathedral’s new Children’s Choir.

A native of Texas, Mr Davison’s choral works appear regularly on cathedral and parish choir music lists both in the USA and the UK. Among his many commissions are those from The Association of Anglican Musicians, The Royal School of Church Music in America, the Sewanee Church Music Conference, Washington National Cathedral, and Wells Cathedral.

He was appointed Composer-in-Association to Belfast Cathedral Children’s Choir following his visit to Belfast Cathedral in February last year.

Matthew Owens, Director of Music at Belfast Cathedral, already had a strong working relationship with Mr Davison, having previously recorded two CDs of his music, to critical acclaim, and having worked with him on a number of commissioning projects with different choirs. The all-adult, professional Belfast Cathedral Choir has also enjoyed getting to know Mr Davison’s music over the last 18 months, performing several of his compositions during services.

 “It’s a great delight to be Composer-in-Association for the Belfast Cathedral Children’s Choir,” Mr Davison said.

“I see very bright days ahead for the cathedral’s music programme, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that blossoming future.

“Mr Owens and I have enjoyed a fruitful collaborative relationship for many years now, and I’m very pleased for that to continue in Belfast. I look forward to joining the choir on occasion in person, and always through our sacred musical offerings. I wish the choristers all the very best, and I pray for God’s abundant blessings on them along the way.”

He said he was ‘honoured’ that his music was performed for the new President and Vice President in Washington National Cathedral.

As part of his remit as Composer-in-Association, Mr Davison is composing a number of pieces for performance by Belfast Cathedral Children’s Choir. As he was appointed just before the first national lockdown, the children have only been able to meet in person for one cathedral rehearsal, but have kept in touch through online rehearsals and social gatherings.

Mr Owens said: “I am delighted that Gary accepted my invitation last year – it’s an exciting development for our newly-formed Children’s Choir and will be terrific experience for the young choristers to work with a real live composer.

“Gary is so experienced in writing for voices and I know that the cathedral choristers will enjoy singing his music.”

Mr Owens said it was ‘tremendously exciting’ that Mr Davison’s music was performed for President Biden and Vice President Harris.

“Most importantly, I am looking forward to Belfast Cathedral Children’s Choir being able to rehearse and sing again in our glorious cathedral, with Gary’s music being an important part of the choir’s journey,” Mr Owens added.

The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde said: “Gary Davison’s position as Composer-in-Association with Belfast Cathedral Children’s choir gives us an exciting trans-Atlantic link. The inclusion of Gary’s composition Most Glorious Lord of Life connects Belfast Cathedral to a momentous occasion in the life of the United States, as President Biden marks the start his presidency with the National Prayer Service in Washington National Cathedral.

“We hope that it will not be many more months before the current pandemic recedes through co-operation between both our countries, and Gary may be able to travel to Belfast once again” 

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