St Edmund’s School sing for the Pope
The combined boys' and girls' choirs from St Edmund's Prep School in Hindhead, Surrey sang for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and a congregation of 10,000 at an open air Mass outside Frascati Cathedral, Italy on Sunday July 15th (video links below). The thirty seven St Edmund's choristers (ages 9 to 13) performed two motets in English: a Gaelic Blessing and The Lord Bless You And Keep You, both by the English composer John Rutter and joined with the local adult choir to sing the Latin mass.
The previous day the St Edmund's choir sang a full seven piece Latin mass at the main altar of the famous St Peter's Basilica and earlier in the week a shorter mass at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, as well as performing a choral concert in Anzio. The St Edmund's choir were finalists in the 2011 BBC School Choir of the Year competition and have previously sung at St Mark's Venice, Montserrat Abbey, and Barcelona and Verona Cathedrals.
Robert Lewis, the Director of Music, commented "Building a reputation that allows you to sing at the best venues in the world is incredibly difficult but the children have worked very hard to become a choir that can deliver the highest standards. They sang beautifully in Italy and performed with a remarkable professionalism for children of such a young age. After the Maestro at Frascati heard the choir sing we were asked to perform a Gaelic Blessing for the Pope when he retired into the cathedral for his private prayers – a great compliment and a truly moving and magical moment."
Headmaster Adam Walliker said "It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to sing for the Pope in Italy and the boys and girls were very excited. There was at times an almost mystical quality to the tour and the children’s singing was of such a high standard that we have received many offers to go back and perform at other venues. The children also received a lovely letter of support from the composer John Rutter when he heard the news that we were performing his pieces for Pope Benedict. Visits to cultural sites such as the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum in Rome were great fun – and in the stifling heat the ice creams were a definite favourite!"
Vatican TV – St Edmund’s Choristers sing for the Pope
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The Lord Bless You And Keep You
BBC News Report visit to the Pope
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BBC Songs of Praise
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