The St Mary’s Cathedral’s Music Programme has a rich heritage of music spanning over 150 years enriching the liturgical and cultural life of the Cathedral and, indeed, the whole of the community of Perth. The Music Programme provides sacred music thus enhancing the Cathedral’s liturgies. Through its concerts and various music events, the Music Programme provides a valuable outreach connecting the Cathedral to the wider community thus making the Cathedral a truly a vibrant icon of the city of Perth.
The Cathedral is home to the St Mary’s Cathedral Choir, the principal ensemble of the Cathedral. The Cathedral Choir has been in existence since before 1900 and, even at this early stage, was a well-respected adult, mixed choir performing many large-scale Masses and other sacred works at Masses, concerts and other special events both in the Cathedral and in the community of Perth. Beginning in 1937, the choir was reformed as an ensemble of boy trebles and men.
Through its history, the Choir has earned a reputation for excellence in sacred music; and has been featured in radio and television broadcasts including regular ABC radio broadcasts of the Sunday Solemn Sung Mass from the Cathedral. It has also taken part in various tours and in July 2008, the Choir was invited to sing at the Papal services as part of the World Youth Day 2008 celebrations in Sydney.
The Choir has also made several recordings of sacred music, the most recent being in 2015 with the recording of the CD ‘Laudate Dominum: Songs of Joy and Hope’.
The Cathedral Choir sings at the 11am Solemn Sung Mass each Sunday during school Term as well as Christmas, Holy Week/Easter liturgies and other major liturgical events.
Alongside the Cathedral Choir, there is also the Cathedral’s Vocal Ensemble – a chamber choir of professional adult singers also specialising in music ranging from the renaissance to contemporary compositions.
The Cathedral is also home to an historic Australian pipe organ built for the Cathedral in 1910 by Josiah Eustace Dodd (1856-1952): when it was first built, it was the largest instrument in Perth and was representative of Dodd’s finest work thus far showcasing his impressive advancements in organ building in Australia at the time. This instrument was significantly rebuilt and enlarged in 1963 by the Dodd firm (Dodd-Gunstar) and placed in a temporary gallery in the southern transept; it was rebuilt and enlarged once again in 2009 by the South Island Organ Company (New Zealand) during the period of the Cathedral’s restoration and returned to the west end of the Cathedral in a newly-constructed choir loft (floating gallery).
As of 2009, the Cathedral also houses an historic New Zealand pipe organ built by Australian organ builder Arthur Hobday (1851-1912). This organ was originally built for the Newtown Methodist Church (Wellington, New Zealand) in 1905. Due to the closure of this church in the 1980s, this instrument was dismantled and put in storage until 2009 when it was chosen to be the Cathedral’s Chancel Organ; it was restored by the South Island Organ Company (New Zealand) and installed in the Cathedral during its restoration.
Various programmes and events:
The Cathedral’s Music Programme also includes other developmental programmes such the St Mary’s Cathedral (FJ Larner) Organ Scholarship, the Cathedral Choristers’ Probation Programme, Chorister for a Day, and each year holds the Orchestral Mass – a unique gathering in Perth of young students forming a massed choir and symphony orchestra around the Cathedral Choir.
For details and membership enquiries, please contact the Director of Music firstname.lastname@example.org
The Music Programme features some of Perth’s leading musicians as cantors, soloists, organists and orchestral players.
Director of Music and Principal Organist:
Joshua Adams (Principal Cantor)