SO – WHAT IS THIS CHOIR? WHO ARE ITS MEMBERS?
The Cathedral Special Choir was formed in August 1995 as an auditioned adult voluntary choir and was re-formed and re-launched as the Cathedral Voluntary Choir in August 2008. We are one of Rochester Cathedral's two choirs - the other being the statutory Cathedral Choir consisting of the Boy Choristers, Girl Choristers and Lay Clerks.
The choir consists of a pool of around 40 experienced adult singers in the Medway/Maidstone area and from further afield - not only from places like London and the Kent coast, but until recently some members travelled regularly from Aachen (Germany) and Vienna (Austria) to sing with us! (Although, regrettably, the two gentlemen concerned are now deceased.) From this pool about 20-25 are on duty for most events. Our current members’ age range is from 15 to 70+, and they are selected after tough auditions; near perfect sight-reading is an essential qualification. Many of them have degrees in music or diplomas from the London conservatories: several are teachers; others are professional singers, instrumentalists or choir/orchestra directors in their own right. Other professions represented in the choir include engineers, bankers, train drivers, business people, nurses, social workers, civil servants, teachers, academics, students and the Clergy.
Despite the recent name change, they are still a very special Choir (albeit now with a small S). Why? Between them they have not just decades, but centuries of accumulated experience in church and cathedral music. They can sing (for example) Howells’ “Collegium Regale” Mass setting - unrehearsed - at 5:00am for the Easter Vigil; they have sung “How great thou art” for a wedding in Arabic - and not just regular Classical Arabic, but the Cairo dialect which the Egyptian guests would have used; they can lead a 2-hour Ordination service, including a 16th-century a capella mass setting, anthems by Wood, Whitlock and Vaughan Williams and country/rock-style worship songs - with brass quartet and home-grown worship band as well as the organ - on an hour’s rehearsal. That is the kind of thing that makes them special.
For more information about the other choirs, or about our Cathedral, please visit the Cathedral website: