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St Austin's Choir

Parish of St Martin de Porres Wakefield


Mill Hill Chapel

St Austin's Choir In Mill Hill Chapel, Leeds, last Thursday (12th May) after singing a recital there as part of a series of early music concerts organised by the Chapel and the North East Early Music Forum. The programme consisted of music from the Renaissance period and featured excerpts from Masses by Victoria, Casciolini, Byrd and Hassler. John Cuttell, organist, played 'Variations on a French Folk Tune' before the choir rounded off the recital with motets and chant dedicated to Our Lady.

St Ignatius Concert October 2015

Choir given standing ovation. in a programme charting music from Renaissance to rutter the choir sang a varied a capella and accompanied programme. at the finale the hallelujah from Handel's Messiah was met with a standing ovation!

North East Early Music Forum Day Out

Choir performed at Temple Newsam House, Leeds on Sunday 19th April 2015. A programme of English sacred Music was given featuring composers such as Tallis, Mundy, Gibbons and Byrd. An appreciative audience gave the choir a warm reception. 

Christmas Carols at the Chantry Chapel:

I Saw a Maiden sung by St Austin's Choir Wakefield

Pettman's arrangement of the 14th century carol. Sung here by St Austin's Choir from Wakefield in the historic Chantry Chapel. The chapel is on the bridge over the River Calder in Wakefield and was bu...

Remembrance Concert 8th November 2014

An appreciative audience supported St Austin's Choir at the church on Wentworth Terrace, Wakefeld in their Remembrance Weekend concert marking the centenary of the start of the First World War. Lorraine Mawbey’s opening solo to the Kyrie from Karl Jenkins' Choral Suite, 'The Armed Man - a Mass for Peace’, set the scene for an evening of excellent music and contemplation. The rich and balanced sound of the full choir gave the suite an emotive quality which the audience found very poignant. John Cuttell played a sensitive accompaniment on the organ throughout the suite, and Helen Stowell provided the haunting cello introduction to the Benedictus. The choir concluded the suite by singing, unaccompanied, the final piece of the Mass which inspires hope and consolation, 'God Shall Wipe Away All Tears'. The closing chord of this uplifting finale was followed by a brief and appreciative silence before warm applause. The first half concluded with a choral setting by Paul Granger, the choir’s composer-in-residence, of John McCrae’s ‘In Flanders Fields'. The famous poem, written in 1915, was one of the inspirations for the use of poppies to commemorate the fallen. The final refrain was sung in plaintive unison by a superb semi-chorus.

The second half was wholly dedicated to the well known Fauré Requiem. Again the choir was in fine form giving appropriate light and shade to the lovely sound of Faure's masterpiece. Marc Auty gave a super performance in the bass solo parts whilst Ann Hargrave gave us a delicate and moving Pie Jesu. Audience members commented that they had been ‘carried away by the beauty of the singing’ and had been deeply moved by the occasion.

Paris 2014

Four recitals in two days were performed in some of Paris' most notable churches. The highlight of the tour was performing a recital in Notre Dame. At Notre Dame the choir sang unaccompanied music by composers such as Palestrina, Victoria, Byrd and Tallis. One of the many highlights

of the choir's repertoire was ' O Radiant Dawn' by modern composer James MacMillan. Recitals were also performed at St Germain des Pres, St Sulpice (second largest church in Paris) and St Germain L'Auxerroise. At the final recital at St Germain L'Auxerrois the choir also sang the Vigil Mass. All the performances were very well received by appreciative audiences. In addition to the choir local soprano Charlotte Kitson performed Faure's Pie Jesu.

John Cuttell and Ross Williams accompanied the choir in two of the recitals and also performed music for organ including the famous Toccata by Widor.

Director of music. Patrick Ganley, said:

"It was a wonderful and hugely enjoyable experience. The choir were outstanding

throughout and managed to keep the music fresh and alive despite the busy

schedule. Singing in such surroundings was a privilege that we will remember for a long time. As well as superb singing from the choir we were also treated to wonderful music from Charlotte Kitson and our two organists. Although the music was so magnificent the tour was also successful as whole with many friends and relatives along to support the choir to make it a great social event. We also received many compliments from the audiences-which came from many different countries."

From Ancient to Modern

Concert in St Mary's Cathedral, Newcastle 27th October 2013

The choir performed to a large audience in the beautiful surroundings of the cathedral. An interesting programme traced the history of sacred music form plainchant through to MacMillan. Two pieces new to the choir were performed: 'O Radiant Dawn' by James MacMillan and 'I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes' by local composer Alan Simmons. There were tow outstanding solos from the Handel's 'Messiah' by Luke Woodhouse and Lorraine Mawbey. Ann Hargrave also joined Lorraine to sing Paul Granger's duet. The concert finished with a rousing 'Hallelujah' which led to rapturous applause with some people on their feet!

The choir followed this performance by leading the music liturgy at the morning Mass. mass parts were from Victoria's 'Missa O Quam Gloriosum' with anthems Faure's 'Cantique de Jean Racine' and Gibbons' 'Almighty and Everlasting'

Click above for report

Rome October 2012  

St Austin’s Choir in Rome

St Austin’s Choir from the parish of St Martin de Porres in Wakefield, recently returned from a highly successful and enjoyable weekend in Rome. Despite the Vatican vicariate changing the choir’s plan at the last minute the trip had many high spots. The highlight of the trip was singing at the Vigil Mass at the Altar of St. Joseph in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. In the mass, in which Fr Michel Kelly from St Martin de Porres concelebrated, the choir sang motes by Tye, Palestrina, Byrd, da Viadana and a Sanctus from Casciolini. In addition both John Cuttell (former organist at St Ignatius, Ossett) and Daniel Justin (organist at St Anne’s Cathedral) played the organ for the Mass. At the end of the Mass the celebrant, Mons Dario Rezza, thanked ‘il coro inglaise’ for their ‘exquisite execution of polyphony’. 

After the service the choir were warmly applauded by the mainly Italian congregation. Patrick Ganley, director of music, said:

“It was a highly emotional occasion for the choir and a wonderful experience. To sing in such a beautiful and holy place was an honour and a really special Mass”

Earlier in the day the choir had given a super recital in All Saints Anglican Church, who had provided rehearsal facilities for the choir. The recital was well received by a small but appreciative audience. In the recital the choir again performed Renaissance music whilst there were solos from Lorraine Mawbey and organ solos by John Cuttell and Daniel Justin. Ann Hargrave and Lorraine also sang Pie Jesu written and accompanied by Paul Granger, the organist at St Austin’s.

Due to the change in arrangements there was a vacant time for the choir on Sunday evening. After some negotiation the choir were given the opportunity to sing in Rome’s oldest church-the Pantheon. Built about 125 AD as temple to the gods it became a church in the 7th century and gas been ever since. In the unique atmosphere inside the choir performed to a very large crowd that gathered as well as the thousand or so people walking round. Archbishop Arthur Roche joined the audience and spoke and mingled with the choir afterwards. Patrick Ganley said:

“This was a great way to round off the weekend, singing in such an iconic building in a very special atmosphere. It was great to see Archbishop Roche as he been unable to join us earlier in the weekend due to his new commitments. The choir were outstanding throughout the weekend and moved many people with heir lovely singing”