Music

Music

St Chad’s Cathedral Choir dates from 1841, when the Cathedral was opened. In 1854, John Hardman set up an endowment for the choir, the first English catholic choir to be supported in this way and this long and distinguished choral tradition continues today. In 2000, a re-organisation resulted in the establishment of a professional adult choir to sing at the principal services in the cathedral. The Choir, many of whom are staff and students at Birmingham Conservatoire, sing at the High Mass on Sundays, holydays of obligation and on the other major liturgical occasions during the year. The repertoire ranges from plainsong to contemporary mass settings and anthems with a particular emphasis on renaissance polyphony. There have been several broadcasts on BBC Radio 4.

Staff

Organist and Director of Music:
Professor David Saint BA BMus FRCO FRSCM FRSA FISM
Tel: 0121 230 6247
Email: david.saint@rc-birmingham.org
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Assistant Director of Music:
Nigel Morris MA LTCL ABSM
Tel: 0121 230 6247
Email: choir@rc-birmingham.org
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Organiste Honoraire:
John Pryer
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Cathedral Organ Scholar:
Dylan McCaig
Tel: 0121 230 6247
Email: music@rc-birmingham.org
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Music Secretary:
Elaine Dring
Tel: 0121 230 6247
Email: choir@rc-birmingham.org

St Chad’s Cathedral Choral Outreach

St Chad’s Cathedral Choral Outreach Programme provides opportunities for young singers through school projects and the Junior Choir which is based at the Cathedral. Led by long-standing choristers David and Alexandra Wynne, the programme has the following aims:

  • To promote singing in and around Birmingham
  • To promote St Chad’s Cathedral and widen participation both musically and religiously
  • To develop young voices through the Junior Choir, nurturing vocal talent and joining together schools in Birmingham
  • To prepare young singers for the commitment and dedication of choral scholarships
  • To encourage good vocal technique and a love for choral music

What we offer

Schools:

  • 10 sessions over the period of one term with vocal tutors who are trained in choral singing and vocal technique
  • Access to a wide variety of repertoire with particular emphasis on sacred music
  • Advice and support for teachers
  • A workshop and service during the final week of the project held in St Chad’s Cathedral for family, teachers and students.

The community:

  • The opportunity for children to join St Chad’s Junior Choir
  • Summer Singing Week- these take place during the Summer and offer children and parents the opportunity to visit the Cathedral and to participate in concerts and services.

Training:

We work with the Catholic Primary Schools Partnership to provide music training events for teachers. For further information, visit http://www.bcpp.org.uk

For more information, please contact Alexandra and David at choralout-reach@rc-birmingham.org

David Richard Wynne

David Richard Wynne holds an MMus from Birmingham Conservatoire and is a professional choral conductor, singer and music educator. In his education work, David currently works as a choral director, vocal coordinator and teacher at Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Department as well co-directing St. Chad’s Choral Outreach Programme.

As a conductor, David is Musical Director of Birmingham Festival Choral Society and Ryton Chorale in Worksop. David is a long-standing member of The St. Chad’s Cathedral as well as working as a freelance soloist and consort singer.

Alexandra Wynne

Alexandra graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2012 with BMus(Hons) inVocal and Operatic Studies, having undertaken some of her training at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Lyon. She held a Choral Scholarship at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2013 and has been a chorister at St Chad’s Cathedral since 2008. Alexandra was a member of Genesis Sixteen, The Sixteen’s choral training programme led by Harry Christophers and now performs regularly as a soloist and ensemble singer.

Alexandra is also the Director of Choirs at Work Ltd, an award-winning company providing choral training to organisations across the UK, as well as a choral director and singing teacher at Birmingham Conservatoire Junior Department and King Edward VI Five Ways Grammar School in Birmingham.

The Organ

As part of the Cathedral’s 150th anniversary restoration the firm of J. W. Walker & Sons was commissioned at the end of 1990 to build a new organ for St Chad’s Cathedral, Nicolas Kynaston having been appointed as Organ Consultant in 1988. The decision was soon taken that the only place where choir and organ could be together was in the west gallery, as originally intended by the Cathedral’s architect Augustus Welby Pugin. The organ case and gallery were designed by David Graebe in late medieval style, with decoration by Gordon Foster.

The disposition of the organ within the case is very traditional: the Great occupies the centre of the main case with the Swell above and the Pedal department divided in towers on either side; the Positive is on the front of the gallery behind the player’s back, all controlled by mechanical action with electric stop action and a wide range of adjustable aids to registration. There are 6 pistons to each division and 6 general pistons, with a stepper and 96 channels of memory for each of the 8 memory cards.

The classical layout and the clear choruses on all four divisions make it suitable for music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, whilst versatility is ensured as the principals on each department are complemented by a variety of colourful stops, including those required by the baroque French tradition and by the grand nineteenth century Cavaillé-Coll school. The tonal finishing was by David Wilson and Michael Butler and Nicolas Kynaston was the consultant.

Since its installation, the organ has won plaudits from organists all over the world and is considered to be one the finest in the country. It has featured on recordings by David Saint, Henry Fairs and Paul Carr and been broadcast on Radio 3. The organ is also used extensively for teaching and masterclasses.

Organ Specification

Great Positive
Bourdon 16 Stopped Diapason 8
Open Diapason 8 Principal 4
Gamba 8 Flute 4
Open Flute 8 Nasard 2 2/3
Octave 4 Fifteenth 2
Harmonic Flute 4 Flageolet 2
Super Octave 2 Tierce 1 3/5
Grave Mixture II Larigot 1 1/3
Mixture IV Sharp Mixture IV
Cornet V Cremona 8
Trumpet 8 Tremulant
Swell to Great Swell to Positive
Positive to Great  
Swell Pedal
Salicional 8 Open Diapason 16
Voix Celeste 8 Subbass 16
Chimney Flute 8 Octave 8
Principal 4 Bass Flute 8
Tapered Flute 4 Super Octave 4
Gemshorn 2 Mixture IV
Mixture IV Ophicleide 16
Bassoon 16 Trumpet 8
Trumpet 8 Positive to Pedal
Oboe 8 Great to Pedal
Clarion 4 Swell to Pedal
Tremulant  
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