St. Macartin's Cathedral
Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
On Saturday 24th September 2011, these choir members sang "O Perfect Love" at the wedding blessing of Samuel Holmes and his new wife Céline in Willowfield Parish Church, Belfast. By 30th October 2014, this video had been viewed 16,132 times on YouTube.
The Choir Page
(last updated 31st October 2014)
The church choir is composed of over twenty of our members, the majority being female. Thanks to some energetic recruiting by the Dean the number has increased recently, and indeed there is now a junior choir as well. More male singers would be an advantage so if there are any men of good voice who fancy donning the smart robes and making a joyful noise every Sunday they would be welcomed with open arms!
Memories.. the choir as it was in 1988....
Only three of those pictured are still members ... Angel Nawn, John Owens and Noel Beattie.
BACK ROW - Michael Kingston. Wayne Hezlett. William Nixon. Maurice Dixon. Keith Irvine. Shane Kingston. Noel Beattie.
John Owens. Paul Johnston. Blythe Crawford, Frederick Nawn, Jonathan Boyd, Andrew Ferguson, Sam Crawford.
SECOND ROW - Angel Nawn. Tracey Schofield. Joanna Johnston. Karen Stevenson. Lorraine Irvine, Shirley Kee, Elizabeth Smith, Felicity Morrow. Jayne Greaves. Jill Hunter. Glllian Mayes. Julla Greaves, Jean McBride, Moya Mayes.
FRONT ROW - Gaynor Beattie. Nicola Hezlett, Gail Schofield, Jason Dixon. Andrew Scott. Paui McKendry. William McBride (Organist and Choirmaster}. Sandra Kee. Lisa McCoy, Michelle Stevenson, Gillian Pierce. Rowena Deering. Lesley Pierce.
On 26th June 2012 we were honoured to host their Royal Highnesses the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at a special Jubilee Thanksgiving Service during which the choir performed this beautiful arrangement - an excerpt from St. Patrick's Breastplate - composed by our acting Director of Music - Glenn Moore and conducted by his acting Assistant Director - Jayne Haslett. By 30th October 2014, it had been viewed 1768 times. It was spotted on YouTube by a church in America and performed there on St. Patrick's Day 2013.
We are delighted to have as our Organist and Director of Music Mr Glenn Moore. Glenn is a native of Kesh and has been playing the organ and leading the choir at Ardess Parish Church, his home parish, for the past 18 years. He has played the organ for various services and has given recitals at numerous churches throughout the Diocese of Clogher and beyond, and for the past number of years has been organist for special services that have taken place in Clogher Cathedral. Whilst a pupil at Portora he was taught the organ by former Cathedral Organist, Billy McBride. Glenn has been Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Clogher for the past eight years, and is actively involved in diocesan and central church affairs.
Our Assistant Director of Music is Ms Jayne Haslett,Originally from Londonderry, Jayne moved to Fermanagh after graduating from Stranmillis University College, to take up a teaching post in Enniskillen Model Primary School, where she has been teaching P3 for the past twelve years. She has been head of 'the arts' in school - music, drama and art - for the past four years. She has a passion for singing and performed as a lead in some of the Enniskillen light operatic productions. She sings in the Kingdom Come praise band, and has been involved with the Cathedral praise group for the past number of years. She also plays the accordion in Trory accordion band. Coming from a Presbyterian background, Jayne is a member of a house group with the Presbyterian church. In her spare time she attends various courses and seminars and is currently completing a Self Expression and Leadership course in Dublin.
THE QUEEN AND THE CHOIR by Jenny Cathcart
An official looking cream envelope popped through my letterbox. It contained a letter from the Lord Chamberlain’s office at Buckingham Palace, with passes and full security instructions for my entry as a chorister to Enniskillen cathedral on the morning of Tuesday 26th June.
Our choir led the singing as 700 clergy and guests from all around the province joined Her Majesty the Queen at Northern Ireland’s Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving service. It was a unique honour for St. Macartin’s and a feather in the cap of our Dean who persuaded the Palace that Enniskillen cathedral could and would be pleased to accommodate the service. It was the first time in its four hundred year long history that a reigning sovereign visited our church but there are royal connections.
In 1612, exactly 400 years ago, Enniskillen was founded by a royal charter awarded by King James 1st. It was my own ancestors, Malcolm and Adam Cathcart, parishioners at this church, who in 1688 assembled troops to defend the town for King William III against the forces of King James II. They then formed two famous British regiments, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards whose flags are now laid up in the cathedral’s regimental chapel.
Coming so soon after all the high profile pomp and ceremony of the Jubilee celebrations in London, the pressure was on us, our Director of Music, Glenn Moore, and our choir mistress, Jayne Haslett, to prepare a flawless performance. Announcing the event at our regular choir practice some weeks previously, Dean Hall warned that
since the service would be televised live, any of us who fell out of line or made a faux pas could end up on Youtube!
Choir members from other parishes were drafted in to swell our ranks and extra choir robes to match our own arrived from Comber Parish church. Our most experienced singer, Angel Nawn, a choir member for 43 years, commented that, with forty choristers, the choir had never been so large and the cathedral had never hosted such an important event. She recalled how, when the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, last visited our town in 1946, the cathedral bells pealed out and the Princess made an appearance on the town hall balcony.
The chairs for the Queen and Prince Philip were in place alongside the choir stalls for several weeks. Some of us sopranos moved from the choir stalls opposite to those next to her Majesty so that she would hear the melody line and not be overwhelmed by bass or alto voices. We sang some of the grand hymns: “Praise My Soul the King of Heaven“, “Lord for the Years Your Love has Kept and Guided”, “God Whose City’s Sure Foundation” (tune Westminster Abbey) and my own all time favourite, ”Be Thou my Vision”, to the tune Slane. Security was so strict and protocol so demanding that the final Order of Service was held under lock and key until the actual day. Glenn Moore, composed a special anthem for the occasion, its words based on the prayer St. Patrick’s Breastplate. It was no easy task learning a new work in just a few weeks but we all turned up for extra rehearsals including a television run through the day before the broadcast. While the church was being cleaned from top to bottom by brave volunteers, we were bleaching and starching our surplices and cravates and checking the hems of our cassocks to make sure there were no snags to trip us up as we processed in and out. We were praying for a fine day and no mishaps. In order to make way for the archbishops, bishops and clergy, the choir robed not in
our usual robe room near the chancel but in the parish hall and then we processed through the west door of the cathedral and up the aisle to the choir stalls. Local trumpet player, Andrew Gordon, a member of Churchill Silver band and a former pupil at Portora Royal School, heralded the Queen’s arrival with a fanfare. Obviously we were all eager to see the Queen, to see her in the flesh. Whilst from afar we might be impressed by her aura, her iconic status, within the confines of our own place of prayer, we felt a certain frisson as we found ourselves worshipping in such close proximity to the anointed monarch, a Queen who inspires by her faith, her fidelity, her devotion to duty and who is admired for her constancy, her stamina and her stoicism.
..... and as it is today. (pictured in September 2012)
The Jubilee Choir pictured with the then Archbishop Alan Harper and Bishop John McDowell (both at back). To the right of picture is the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall (Dean) and (to the left) Rev. Alistair Warke (Diocesan Curate).
The Praise Group. (pictured in September 2012)
The Praise Group, pictured here with Dean Kenneth Hall, seeks to bring a more contemporary feel to the church music.It performs at family sevices and other special occasions throughout the year.
Here the choir sings a very old but very beautiful anthem, "Thou visitest the Earth" by Maurice Greene at the 2012 harvest service. By 30th October 2014, it had been viewed 1568 times.
For services and meetings, please use the drop down menu on the HOME page
There was a very special service on 8th November
2012 when the victims of the 1987 Remembrance Sunday IRA bombing were commemorated. The
choir here sang Binyon's famous "They went with Songs to the Battle" with music by former cathedral choirmaster William McBride. By 30th October 2014, it had been viewed 778 times.
And by way of comparison, this is the rare recording of the same song performed at the Royal Albert Hall by the cathedral choir in 1988 - a year after the Poppy Day bombing. On this occasion it was conducted by William McBride himself. (the singing commences a few minutes after the start of the BBC 1 broadcast of the Festival of Remembrance.) By 30th October 2014, it had been viewed 724 times.
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NEW: Scroll to bottom of this page to see photographs from the 2013 annual dinner.