Bradford Catholic Youth Choir are supported by St Bede's and St Joseph's, rehearsing once a week during term time at the Ignis Site. They enjoy many exciting performance opportunities and receive expert direction and training from the staff of the Diocese's Schools Singing Programme.
On the morning of Sunday 5th November, members of the 100 strong choir - the majority of whom are at St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic College and the primary schools in the Bradford and Keighley Catholic Schools Partnership - broadcast BBC Radio 4's Sunday Worship. The programme, which has around 1.75 million listeners (more than Desert Island discs and The Archers), was a Mass celebrated by Fr Timothy Whitwell and the homily given by Fr Michael Hall.
Guy Fawkes Day, or Bonfire Day, is a day which has historically emphasised divisions in society. In the service, transmitted live from St Joseph's Catholic Church in inner-city Bradford, we heard that we are all sisters and brothers in Christ's love. The choir (the combined Junior, Boys' and Girls' Choirs) sang the Gregorian Missa Cum Jubilo, the motet Anima Christi by Mgr Marco Frisina, and the hymns Praise to the holiest, Sweet sacrament divine and Firmly I believe and truly. The organist was Director of the Diocese's Organists' Training Programme and Cathedral Organist David Pipe, the Junior Choirs were directed by Choral Director Alex Kyle, and the Musical Director was Director of the Schools Singing Programme, Thomas Leech.
The quality of the children's singing attracted considerable feedback from listeners who were particularly struck by the quality of the Gregorian chant. Two listeners wrote:
'Their singing of Latin plainchant was exceptional...they must have worked very hard over a long period to produce plainchant of this standard. It was a joy and privilege to hear music of this quality. The Diocese can be very proud of its programme for choirs.' [PH, by email]
'The music was spiritual and the singing stirred my soul, so beautiful to hear plainsong sung so reverently.' [ES, by email]
In addition, Archbishop Patrick Kelly contacted the Parish following the broadcast to offer his thanks for such a beautiful Mass.
The broadcast is available on BBC iPlayer until Tuesday 5th December at:
Director of the Schools Singing Programme
Diocese of Leeds