Today we are in Hampshire, at the beautiful Portsmouth Cathedral
, where we’ll hear the choir sing Gaudete
. This piece has been arranged by Luke Fitzgerald, who was Organ Scholar at Portsmouth in 2015-16, and is currently the Assistant Director of Music at Coventry Cathedral.
Portsmouth Cathedral Choir is made up of 6 Lay Clerks and up to 6 Choral Scholars with an alternating top line of 22 boys and 22 girls who contribute to the pattern of daily cathedral worship. The choristers rehearse on weekday mornings at 8.00am before a normal school day in preparation for the week’s music. In any normal week the Cathedral Choir sings for at least 6 services. The Choir also sings at various special services and events both locally across the diocese and internationally, and has toured Belgium, Holland, Sweden, France, Italy, Malta, Estonia, Sweden and more recently Iceland and Finland.
“There is no better opportunity in this country to instil musicality, creativity and a passion for art in a child than being a chorister. I owe most of my happiness and success today to David Price and Portsmouth Cathedral Choir”
Hugh, former chorister
At home in the UK they have also sung at St Paul’s Cathedral, the Queen’s private chapel at St George’s in Windsor Castle, Canterbury Cathedral and at Westminster Abbey. The Cathedral Choir maintains strong links with the Royal Navy and takes part in a number of services for them. Highlights include the annual Royal Marines Band Service and the Second Sea Lord’s carol service on HMS Victory and they were particularly delighted to be aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth for her commissioning at the end of 2017 in the presence of HM The Queen and The Princess Royal.
Portsmouth Cathedral Choir was the first cathedral choir to broadcast a live Radio 3 Choral Evensong after the BBC paused outside broadcasts in 2020. This time last year, Portsmouth Cathedral Choir was highlighted in the BBC Music Magazine for their new CD of Advent and Christmas carols, Verbum caro
. The choir takes a full part in Portsmouth’s Cathedral Sing! Chorister Outreach Programme
, as well as taking part in the annual ‘PortsFest’.
The choir looks forward to a busy Christmas at the cathedral with four carol services as well as services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In 2022 they hope to tour to Cyprus and Belgium, and to broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4.
"In 2020 the Cathedral Music Trust awarded Portsmouth Cathedral a lifeline grant to ensure that our music ministry and activity was able to persevere at an extremely tricky moment for cathedrals and their work. We remain deeply grateful for this and for the generosity of all friends and supporters of cathedral music.
David Price, Director of Music, Portsmouth Cathedral