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Taking Christchurch Music To The World

Taking Christchurch Music To The World

Christchurch’s best-kept secret is preparing to go global.

A fundraising campaign has been launched today to raise $400,000 for the ChristChurch Cathedral Choir to take up invitations to tour Britain for a month next year, singing at cathedrals including Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s.

Prime Minister Helen Clark, as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, is officially supporting the tour, describing the cathedral and its choir as cultural icons. In an open letter she says “the choir has reached new heights of excellence. It is now time to showcase the Cathedral Choir to international audiences.”

The choir’s Director of Music, Brian Law, agrees. “In my entire professional career – working in England, North America and now New Zealand – never has a project seemed more absolutely ‘right’. The standard to which the Cathedral Choir is performing these days is truly exceptional.”

Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore, himself the father of a former chorister, describes the choir as an important part of the city’s heritage. “The Cathedral Choir is as old as the Cathedral itself and is one of the city’s most important cultural assets,” he says.

This will be the first time the choir has visited Britain, the home of choral music, in its 126 years of existence. The choir’s 16 boys and 12 men will tour next July and August, will spend a week as the choir in residence at Westminster Abbey and may also take up invitations to sing in America and Asia en route.

Dean of Christchurch, the Very Reverend Peter Beck, says it’s time for the choir to tour internationally. “”Our male voice choir of men’s and boys’ voices is reaching new heights of excellence under the guidance of Brian Law. I am absolutely delighted at the standard being achieved and am keen for us to showcase our Kiwi talent in England.”


Background

The ChristChurch Cathedral Choir is the only professional choir of men and boys in New Zealand and one of only two in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the oldest professional musical entity in New Zealand, being older than the cathedral itself – it began six months before the opening of the cathedral in 1881.

The 16 choristers, aged 9 to 13, are pupils of the Cathedral Grammar School. They sing five services and ten rehearsals most weeks of the year, as well as many special services, performances and recitals important in the life of the Cathedral and the city.

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