A vision with the initial inspiration from Don Whelan, who gathered together Canterbury’s iconic musicians in a common purpose, was fulfilled yesterday (Sunday 24 November 2013) when hundreds of choristers especially from Christchurch and indeed from all over Canterbury joined together for a day of music supporting celebrations marking the end of the Church’s year and foreshadowing the beginning of the forthcoming one. By coincidence, it was the nearest Sunday to the anniversary of St Cecilia, the patron saint of Music.
The day commenced at 9.00 am with RSCM NZ member choir, Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament and Catholic colleges and school choirs rehearsing for the morning’s 11.0 o’clock Mass in the Canterbury Building Society’s Addington Arena. A congregation of around 9,000 people experienced a most moving service led by Bishop Barry Jones.
At the end of the Mass, cultural communities and their displays kept up the momentum of the day until at 6.00pm rehearsals began under the hands of leading conductors including, Brian Law, and organists, again this time for the 7.00pm recitals by Canterbury’s church and community choirs together with a world-standard barber-shop. The event culminated with a singing of Handel’s Halleluia Chorus by the thousands of audience members and all the choristers combining.