More young singers are wanted to join Salford Cathedral’s new children’s choir which makes its debut this weekend.

Alex Patterson, the director of music at Salford Cathedral and the choirmaster, says: “The children’s choir started in September 2020 and we think this is the first time the Cathedral has ever had a choir like this in its history.

“It’s part of a wider programme to establish a singing programme for all at the Cathedral so any child or young person in Salford can have the opportunity to come and sing great music at the Cathedral.”

Credit: J. Crabtree

There are two choirs for young singers – one for children aged from seven to 12 years old running on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4.15-5.30pm; and a youth choir for those aged 12-18 running on Tuesdays from 5.45-6.45pm. Both are based at Cathedral House.

The church is working closely with the Cathedral Primary School of St Peter and St John, and St Joseph’s Ordsall, which are part of the Cathedral Parish, to ensure children have regular opportunities to explore their singing and build confidence in themselves.

Mr Patterson is excited for the debut at Sunday’s 5.30pm Mass, saying: “The children have been back rehearsing in person since 13 April. This will be the first time they’ve sang a whole Mass on their own and we’re hoping that they’ll become a regular fixture in the schedule, singing more regularly for the liturgy.”

But the choirs don’t just sing hymns. Mr Patterson said: “We sing a wide range of music from a range of cultures and heritages. We also fully embrace the rich cultural history of the Catholic music tradition. The children have been singing plainsong as well as hymns, and singing in Latin as well as English. Quite a lot of our warm-up songs come from cultures across the world.”

This is one of the children’s choir practice sessions, a sneak peak of what is to come on Sunday’s Mass.

Mr Patterson is more than just a choirmaster; he is also a composer and a conductor. He has previously worked for Nottingham Cathedral, Arts Council England and Music for Everyone. He also hosts a podcast, ‘PatterPod‘, in which he speaks with a guest about music and what it means to them. Each guest selects seven tracks that they like or that mean something to them.

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