Cathedral Choristers of Great Britain Concert
My visit to Liverpool for the Cathedral Choristers of Great Britain concert
By Natalie P 7N
A few months ago, I found out that I was going to be representing Exeter Cathedral at the Diamond Fund for Choristers concert in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. I was very excited about this, and finally the date came last week.
We flew to Manchester and went by train to Liverpool, crossing the famous Chat Moss railway line, which we had been learning about in history. As we arrived in Liverpool quite early, we had time for a walk around the Cavern Quarter, where the famous band ‘The Beatles’ first played, and then went into the World Museum and it was amazing. First, we found a giant hippopotamus skull, and then we went into the Egypt rooms. It was a bit creepy as we went into the Egypt exhibition, as there were signs saying that ‘This gallery includes exhibits of human remains’ but it was very interesting to see the mummies, sarcophagus and other things.
We had a rehearsal on Thursday night in the Crypt Hall of the Metropolitan (Catholic) Cathedral where Mr Noon used to be Director of Music. We learned a completely new piece of music by Richard Shepherd which was written just for this concert. After a long rehearsal with pieces by Handel, Rutter and Parry I was exhausted, after all, I had got up at 5am that morning!
Thursday dawned, grey and rainy, and we went to the Anglican Cathedral. It was astounding, it was at least twice the size of Exeter Cathedral. If you sang a high note, it would echo for about 10 seconds, and the acoustics were brilliant. In the cathedral, there was also an exhibition including Gaia, a huge light-up world, suspended from the ceiling.
After the morning’s rehearsals, we had some free time. One of our family friends works in the University of Liverpool in aeronautical engineering and he kindly invited us to have a go on the flight simulators – that was amazing! I pretended to be a pilot and did a test flight over Liverpool Airport, which was just a visual flight, and then I went in a new flight simulator which moves as well. We also saw lots of other exciting things, including a wind tunnel and a huge water chamber which was used for testing a scale model of a new military aircraft carrier. Lastly, he let us see the fastest bike in the world which his students had designed. The bike had a lid on it to make it more aerodynamic but because of this, the driver had to use a screen inside which showed a picture from a camera attached to the lid, as the bike did not have a window!
Finally, it was time for the actual concert. Beforehand, all the choristers (nearly 100 of us, representing around 42 cathedrals) met for a warm up and then a few of us, including me, were selected to meet the guest of honour, The Duchess of Gloucester. She asked us where we were from and which pieces of music we liked, then the concert began.
The concert included Zadoc the Priest, by Handel, I was glad, by Parry as well as the new piece called ‘How lovely are thy dwellings’ by Shepherd and ‘the Lord bless you and keep you’ and ‘a Gaelic blessing’ by Rutter. As we were in Liverpool, we also sang a Beatles song ‘Yesterday’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Richard Shepherd and John Rutter were sitting on the very front row and John Rutter was the guest speaker and gave a talk during the concert. It was quite an experience to sing their music right in front of them.
I don’t think I will ever get another experience like this and it was absolutely fantastic!