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 over 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 regular recitals in the Cathedral. The Schola have recently broadcast televised Masses with RTÉ and Easter Sunday Mass which was televised on Euro-Vision. They have also sung on Radio 2, Radio 4 and Radio Ulster.
Since September 2008, the Schola have established a successful concert series on the last Friday of each month from 6:30 - 7:15pm in the Cathedral. There are currently 10 boys in the Schola receiving organ tuition, an important aspect of training the Church musicians for the future.
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 and received much interest and acclaim.
In May 2011, the Schola Cantorum hosted the Palestrina choir of the Pro Cathedral, Dublin, directed by Blanaid Murphy for a joint concert. In June 2011, they sang Mass at Westminster Cathedral and Sacred Heart, Wimbledon. They also sang a concert in Southwark 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 November 2011, the Schola appeared on BBC Songs of Praise singing Mozart's 'Ave Verum'.
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.