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I is for…The Isle of Man

‘Christmas is the best time to sing in a choir’

So says, Dominic, an 11-year-old chorister at Isle of Man Cathedral, which we are visiting today, 9 December.

As far as we know Cathedral Isle of Man is not only the youngest cathedral but also the youngest cathedral choir we are featuring in our Advent Adventure. Dedicated to the Celtic St German, the cathedral itself was consecrated in 1980, but the choir was only started by its current Director, Peter Litman, in 2012 and has gone from strength to strength.

View our complete Advent Calendar here

The choir, of about 30 singers, consists of trebles (boys and girls), Young Songmen and Choral Scholars, and voluntary Lay Clerks. It sings Choral services each Sunday, a Eucharist and Evensong.

Yesterday, the choir performed JS Bach’s great Advent Cantata, ‘Wachet Auf!’  The performance featured the choir, two Lay Clerk soloists and members of the Isle of Man Symphony Orchestra. Some of the children who took part in the performance were just 7 years old!

The choristers love the Bach:

‘…it is so bouncy and fun,’ Millie, aged 9

‘Singing with the orchestra is really cool, we are so lucky’ Ophelia, Head Chorister, aged 13

Their enjoyment is obvious to everyone. One of the lay clerks told us:

‘It’s wonderful to see the children involved and singing JS Bach. I wish I were that age again, experiencing it for the first time’

Rehearsals carry on in earnest for the Festival of Lessons and Carols next week and the following Christmas Services. Being a Sunday choir, one would expect the cathedral to be tranquil in the week…but no! The cathedral is hosting a number of school carol services and concerts, and, at quiet times, the study of the Organ Scholar, Harry Sullivan, fills the air as he is busy practising his Midnight Mass voluntary – Messiaen’s Dieu parmi nous!

You can hear the choir sing in this video, made last December at a fundraising event.


We were very pleased to feature Isle of Man choristers on one of FCM’s Christmas cards this year. Sales of the cards help raise funds for our grant-giving programme. It’s not too late to buy some if you are running short (or haven’t got round to it yet!). Click here for more information.




Friends of Cathedral Music was delighted to support the choir with a grant for equipment for the new ML Wood Song School. Many of our members saw the Song School in June this year when they visited the Island for our National Gathering – the first National Gathering on the Isle of Man.
By donating to FCM, you can help choirs like Isle of Man Cathedral to continue to flourish.

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Find out more about the music and services at Isle of Man Cathedral