Figure 1.--This photograph shows the St. Woolos Cathedral Choir in their formal choir costumes. I'm not sure what the colored ribbons some of the boys are wearing represent. Probably they are awards given for their singing..
Wales is known for the massive castles the Normans built. St. Woolos is the principal Welsh cathedral. As far as we know, however, St. Woolos is the only Welsh cathedral. Wales is also know for coral singing. Here is the coal miners that most commonly come to mind. The only major boys' choir we know of is the St. Woolos choir. St. Woolos Cathedral maintains a traditional boys' and men's cathedral choir. It is a relatively small, non-residential choir, but they have achieved an impressive standard of choral music.
St. Woolos is the principal Welsh cathedral. St. Woolo is actually an abreviation. (Sometimes Wolo is used.) His actual name consists of eight consonants and like many Welsh names very difficult to pronounce. The cathedral overlooks Newport (Gwent). Like many cathedral sites in Britain, a church has been located there well before the cathedral was built. At St. Woolos over a thousand years ago. St. Woolos only recently (the 1950s) was raised to cathedral status. St Wolo is a relatively small Cathedral as British cathedrals go. It contains, however, some beautiful Norman features and an East End designed by John Piper.
St. Woolos Cathedral maintains a traditional boys' and men's cathedral choir. It is a relatively small, non-residential choir. The boys, drawn from as many as fourteen local schools, The choir numbers change but are about 18 choristers, 8 teenage choral scholars (almost all former choristers) and 6 adults. There is also a group of about 12 boys learming the music which is called the training choir. The assistant organist is Timothy Phillips who has been in post since September 1995, and the Organist and Master of the Choristers since January 1979 is Christopher Barton.
Choir highlights in 2003 include two broadcasts for Radio Wales, participation in the Enthronement of the Most Revd. Dr. Rowan Williams. A Christmas CD has been recorded.
Figure 2.--Here we see the Cathedral Choir in their traveling uniform. The traveling uniform is white shirt and tie, sweater/seatshort with Cathedral badge, grey shorts, and knee socks with colored trim.
The Cathedral Choir while a non-residential choir achieves a very impressive standard of choral music. The Choir sings Evensong on Wednesday (Boys' Voices) and Friday, and the Eucharist and Evensong on Sunday. A weekly Probationers' Evensong may be added. They perform a wide range of classical pieces including Guerrero and Byrd to Bairstow and Ashfield. There are pieces sung in French, German, Russian, and of course Welsh. A weekend service might include music by Howells, Ireland and Philip Moore. Some pieces are chosen to celebrate birthdays of important composers.
The St. Woolos Cathedral Choir performns in white surplices and red cassocks with a modest neck ruff. The traveling uniform is white shirt and tie, sweater/seatshort with Cathedral badge, grey shorts, and knee socks with colored trim. One source adds, "... except that the seniors are allowed to 'drop' into grey slacks); imagine the reaction of their schoolmates! Yet they sing with such pride and dedication that it is obviously counted a great privilege to be a Cathedral Chorister."
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