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May 5th, 2008 - Catholic Girls' Choir Festival in Leeds Cathedral
Catholic Girls' Choir Festival in Leeds Cathedral



Around 100 girls performed in the beautiful setting of Leeds Cathedral on Sunday 4th May. The occasion was the first ever Catholic Girls' Choir Festival Concert. Joining choirs from the Diocese of Leeds was special guest choir: The Schola Puellarum of Ampleforth Abbey. The choirs began and ended the concert by singing as a 100 strong choir. Particularly well received by the audience was a beautiful rendition of Panis Angelicus by Cesar Frank which brought the concert to a close.

In addition to these joint items each choir presented a selection of their own repertoire. First up was the Bradford Girls' Choir, who have a busy summer ahead of them with a tour to France, and an appearance as finalists in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. They sang music from France, America, Africa and the UK ranging from 16th century polyphony through to the well known African chant "Freedom is coming!"

Next to perform was the Schola Puellarum of Ampleforth Abbey, directed by Kate Morgan. Founded in 2004 when Ampleforth College went co-educational, the girls' choir was formed with the aim of giving girls an opportunity to contribute to the thriving choral tradition of the school and the liturgical life of the Abbey Church. The schola performed movements from Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with some outstanding solo contributions from members of the choir.

Finally, the host choir, Leeds Cathedral Girls' Choir performed. The Cathedral Girls' Choir is the longest established choir of its type in an English Catholic Cathedral and acknowledged as ranking amongst the finest of cathedral girls' choirs, they have broadcast nationally many times on BBC Radio to considerable critical acclaim. Their wide ranging programme included works from the Baroque period (Vivaldi, Pergolesi and Couperin) alongside works from the 20th Century, including a setting of Panis Angelicus by Giles Swayne, commissioned by the Cathedral.

Both the Bradford Girls' Choir and the Cathedral Girls' Choir were directed by Christopher McElroy, Assistant Director of Music for the Diocese of Leeds. Organ accompaniments for the concert were provided by William Dore (Assistant Director of Music and College Organist, Ampleforth) and Christopher Johns (Choral Director, Diocese of Leeds.)

The concert was introduced by Mgr Michael Mcquinn, Vicar General who said how proud he was of the flourishing music programme here in the Diocese of Leeds, and how delighted he was to welcome singers from Ampleforth Abbey to perform at the concert. The Diocese of Leeds runs the largest Catholic youth singing programme in the UK, with over 100 children taking part in singing activities each week.

The concert was well received by the packed Cathedral - one member of the audience commented "We really enjoyed the programme this afternoon, especially the opportunity to see three such talented and yet quite different choirs, each with their own distinct identity. Hope this will not be the last such festival!"
For more photos, click here .



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Leeds Cathedral
Great George Street
Leeds LS2 8BE

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