On Sunday 30th October, the Choir of St. Wilfrid Church will be leading the music at our 10:30am Eucharist. We spoke to Anthony Gray, Director of Music at the church, to find out more about what to expect.

What can people expect from the music at this service?

The congregation can expect a lovely mixture of polyphony from the renaissance period, as well as some lovely organ music and an excellent choice of hymns! We will be singing music by Thomas Mudd, Antonio Lotti, Henry Loosemore and Adrian Batten as well as a setting of the Gloria I wrote for the choir which we use often at St Wilfrid’s. It will also be particularly lovely on a personal note to be directing the choir for the last Sunday of my father (Canon Philip)’s time at Bradford Cathedral.

How long have you been involved with St. Wilfrid’s Church as Director of Music?
I’ve been fortunate to be Director of Music at St Wilfrid’s since the September of 2019, and am ably assisted by Peter Brand, our Assistant Organist, who joined us in September 2021, as well as our two fabulous young Organ Scholars, Jacob and Giles.

You were previously as Southwell Minster – what was your time there like?
I spent 2018-2019 as the Organ Scholar at Southwell Minster, which was a brilliant experience working with the ‘Rector Chori’ and Assistant Director of Music in maintaining the pattern of daily choral service, working with the boy and girl choristers, the professional lay clerks and the voluntary choir, the ‘Minster Chorale’. Southwell is a really wonderful place which I would highly recommend everyone visits! I’ve recently been taking part in their ’24 hour Organ-a-thon’ performed by a group of 11 organists including current and former Minster staff, raising money for the upkeep of their two instruments. I was also very fortunate, during my time there, to arrange the music for two broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, on Easter Day 2019.

Could you tell us a little more about the church’s choir – history, services sung at, other events / services they’re involved in.
The choir at St Wilfrid’s are a crucial part of the church’s life and history, and have a rich tradition and lineage behind them. The choir sing at the weekly Sunday Parish Mass, as well as for a number of solemnities, feast days and concerts. We are very fortunate to have a core group of very committed and incredibly capable volunteer singers who give of their time regularly and frequently, for which all the staff and clergy at St Wilfrid’s are very grateful. In 2021, we also founded the Harrogate Advent Festival alongside the amazing young vocal group Ensemble Pro Victoria. The 2022 festival will see performances of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Handel’s Messiah, a new large-scale organ work by Philip Moore and opportunities for composers to get involved with a composition competition adjudicated by Philip himself. More details of this are available via our social media channels, and the Ensemble Pro Victoria website.

How important is music to St. Wilfrid’s Church?
Music is a core part of our liturgical identity at St Wilfrid’s. Standing in the Catholic tradition, the Parish Mass includes a mass setting, anthem, hymns and organ voluntaries. We have also undertaken a project to complete a brand-new psalter of responsorial psalmody which we now employ at our services. Composers for this have included Bradford’s own Graham Thorpe. There are more details about this exciting project online.

Has the choir visited any other churches / cathedrals recently?
Bradford Cathedral is the final stop on our October half-term mini tour! We will have sung at Chester Cathedral for three evensongs, and then St Anne’s Church, Manchester en route to Bradford. The music doesn’t stop there as the following week is filled with music for All Souls’ Day (including Fauré’s Requiem) as well as the festivities of All Saints’ Day, both of which we will be marking with Masses at 7pm.

You can join us in person or online on Sunday 30th October for 10:30am to hear the Choir of the Parish Church of St. Wilfred. To find out out more about the choir and their musical life you can visit their website, and you can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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