James O'Donnell KCSG
Organist and Master of the Choristers,
Westminster Abbey, formerly Master of the Music,
Very Reverend Fr. Hugh Kennedy, D.D.
Director of Music:
Nigel McClintock MMus, GRSM (Hons), FTCL, FFCM, ARCO, DipRCM
Assistant Director of Schola:
Helen Frame BMus
Scoil Ríoga Cheol na hEaglaise in Éirinn
Royal School of Church Music in Ireland Affiliated
The Schola Cantorum was founded in March 2008 and has a membership of forty boys aged between 7 and 22. There are currently 15 probationers in training. The Schola is under the Patronage of James O'Donnell KCSG, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Westminster Abbey, formerly Master of the Music, Westminster Cathedral. The boys rehearse twice a week after school and sing at weekend Liturgies and monthly recitals in the Cathedral. The Schola have broadcast Easter Sunday Mass live on Euro-Vision. They have also sung on Radio 2, Radio 4 and Radio Ulster.
Since September 2008, the Schola have established a successful recital series on the last Friday of each month (in term time) from 6:30 - 7:15pm in the Cathedral.
The Schola performed in February 2009 with the London Oratory Schola and "The Priests". In April 2009, they hosted the Choir of Westminster Cathedral. In July 2009 they toured Paris, singing at the Cathedral of Notre Dame, The Irish College, and St Étienne-du-Mont.
In June 2010, they sang at Mass in St Peter's Basilica before Pope Benedict XVI and gave a concert in the Benedictine Church of San Anselmo. In August 2010, they participated in the Kilkenny International Arts Festival. They were the subject of a three-part BBC Television Documentary, 'Choirboys', which was released in October 2010.
In June 2011, they sang Mass at Westminster Cathedral and Sacred Heart, Wimbledon. They also sang a concert in Southwark (Anglican) Cathedral. In October 2011, they sang in a joint concert with Cappella Caeciliana. In the same month, the Schola joined the Southwark Cathedral Girls Choir, London, for a recital and a sung Mass in Belfast. In October 2011 two trebles in Schola made it through to the final five of BBC Radio Two ‘Young Chorister of the Year’. In November 2011, the Schola appeared on BBC Songs of Praise. In December 2011 Schola released their second C.D. ‘O Come Let Us Adore Him’ of Christmas music to critical acclaim.
Schola sing Sunday Mass in the Cathedral weekly at 11:00 (during term time). Repertoire ranges from sixteenth century to present day composers.
In April 2012, Schola was invited to participate in Philip Hammond’s ‘Titanic Requiem’. This was held in both St. Anne’s and Peter’s Cathedrals on consecutive days, as part of the Titanic Centenary commemorations. This attracted much media attention and was broadcast worldwide.
Members from the Schola Cantorum attend the Eton Choral Courses and the Oundle International Summer School for Young Organists each summer. The trebles of Schola Cantorum participate in the annual Charles Wood Summer School Boys Choir, were they work with the Course Director (Nigel McClintock) the Summer School director Dr. David Hill (Director of the BBC Singers and former Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral).
In March 2012 one of the Schola trebles was cast in a leading role (Miles) in Northern Ireland Opera’s production of Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’. He also went on to represent the Schola Cantorum in ‘Festival di Spoleto’s’ production of the same opera in July 2012.
In December 2012 Schola Cantorum performed a joint concert with ‘The Priests’ to a capacity audience in the Waterfront Hall.
On St. Patrick’s Day 2013, Schola were invited to combine with the choir of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin to sing Choral Eucharist, the repertoire consisted of Messe Solennelle by Langlais. In April 2013, Schola were invited to sing as part of the St. George’s Parish Church bicentenary celebrations with the Choirs of St. George’s, All Saint’s Worcester U.S.A. and Notre Dame Academy Worcester U.S.A.
Auditions are held all year round for boys aged 7 - 19. Applicants should contact St Peter's Cathedral on 028 9032 7573 to make an appointment with the Director of Music.