St. Nicholas Choir and Schola Cantorum are excited to have been selected to serve a week-long residency at the historic Worcester Cathedral in July 2016. This is the first time St. Philip’s will send a traveling choir to a residency in Great Britain. The experience of singing daily Evensong services will not only enhance the choir’s musical abilities but also inspire their growth as Christian leaders. Supporting our youth’s growth as spiritual leaders will ultimately support the growth of our community.
The invitation from Worcester Cathedral reflects the high level of St. Philip’s youth-oriented music programs. Participants are working hard to reach their personal best for the momentous occasion. Singing the Evensong service in a cathedral daily for a week is a very spiritual and unifying experience for children, youth, and adults and represents a meaningful pilgrimage experience for all ages. This adds meaning to St. Philip’s young choristers, who participate annually in the week-long Royal School of Church Music program generously made possible by St. Philip’s Friends of Music, and it distinguishes St. Philip’s In The Hills itself, one of only a handful of Episcopal churches in the American Southwest able to field treble voices in sufficient numbers and training to lead proper Evensong services. This leadership experience not only instills leadership skills and a profound sense of accomplishment in our youth, but also provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Arguably the most interesting of England’s cathedrals, Worcester Cathedral, or The Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin of Worcester, as it is officially called, lies at the heart of Worcestershire and symbolizes every period of English architecture between Norman and Perpendicular Gothic. As such, Worcester is the ideal setting for children and youth of St. Philip’s to join the ancient continuum of Anglican worship and of singing daily Evensong. The Cathedral itself dates from the 11th Century, before which time a priory was built on the same site a scant two centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. Records also show that as far back as 1394, resident choristers were active at Worcester.
The UK Residency Committee has undertaken a two-year fundraising campaign to raise at least $50,000, which will cover expenses for approximately 20 children and youth representing both St. Nicholas Choir and Schola Cantorum. Adult singers, chaperones, and friends, totaling another 20–25 personnel, are expected to pay their own way.
Three successful fundraising events have taken place already: October Fest, Cabaret Silent Auction, and a benefit organ recital by Director of Music Woosug Kang. Choir youth have helped with all three events. Members of St. Nicholas Choir showed poise and musical competence at the organ concert by introducing each program offering, turning pages, pulling organ stops, and even playing notes during Mr. Kang’s virtuoso performance. You can follow our fundraising progress on our colorful poster by watching our “airplane” move along the rainbow path to Worcester.
There are several ways for you to support the children and youth of St. Philip’s in this endeavor. They include attending our fund-raising events; a cash donation; a pledge of any amount paid by check or by monthly checking-account debits; and supporting additional upcoming events. We are also able to accept American Airlines AAdvantage Miles in amounts which will secure a one-way or round trip ticket (30,000 or 60,000 AAdvantage miles). To contribute financially, or to join the planning committee comprising adult choir members and chorister parents, please contact Woosug Kang.
Another fund-raising event is planned for Spring 2015. Stay tuned for further details.
—Arizeder Urreiztieta and Bonnie Winn