St Peter's Cathedral Schola Cantorum, based in West Belfast, will visit Rome next week (28 June until 2 July) where they will sing during a Papal Mass at the Vatican. The boys will also attend an Audience with Pope Benedict XVI.
The Schola Cantorum will also give a concert at the Abbey Church of St Anselmo, the principal Benedictine Church in Rome. Following this Concert the Schola will attend a Diplomatic Reception hosted by the Sovereign Order of Malta in the gardens of the Order’s Villa in Rome. Attending this Concert will be representatives of both the Irish and British Embassies to the Vatican, including the British Ambassador, Mr Francis Campbell, who comes from County Down.
Their Musical Director Nigel McClintock, Assistant Director Helen Frame, the Administrator of St Peters Cathedral Fr Hugh Kennedy and Fr Thomas McGlynn, will accompany the Schola.
When the Schola return from Rome they will perform at Ńras An Uachtarain for President Mary McAleese, who has given the Schola, as a choir, the unique honour of being their Patron.
In the past two years the Schola have gained a well-earned International reputation. They performed in February 2009 with the London Oratory School Schola (who recorded the original soundtracks for Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings) and 'The Priests'. In April 2009 they hosted the choir of Westminster Cathedral at St Peter's Cathedral. In July they toured Paris, singing in the Irish College, St Etienne-du-Mont and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. At Easter 2010 the Schola performed, when RTE broadcast all the Easter Ceremonies from St Peter’s Cathedral, including Easter Sunday Mass which was televised throughout Europe. They are currently the subject of a 3-part BBC Television Documentary, part of which will be recorded during their visit to Rome.
Since September 2008, the Schola have established a sucessful concert series on the last Friday of each month from 6.30 – 7.15 p.m. There are currently 10 boys in the Schola receiving organ tuition, a very important aspect of training the Church musicians of tomorrow at the highest possible standard to energise and promote Church music throughout Parishes. The Schola was founded in March 2008 and is made up of some 45 boys aged between 7 and 19. There are currently 15 probationers in training. The boys rehearse twice a week after school and sing at Mass and other events at St Peter's Cathedral.