The Holy Trinity Church Choir
The Choir at Exeter Cathedral where they sang in the summer of 2017
The traditional Anglican choir of boys and men is presently reinforced by the ladies of the Chapel Choir. The choir leads the worship at the Sunday morning Eucharist and is still the only church & choir in the Diocese of Liverpool that sings a regular midweek Choral Evensong – Wednesdays at 7.15pm.
Throughout the year there are many festal occasions, Advent, Christmas, Easter and so on when the choir’s involvement plays a major role in the church’s celebrations. They are also involved in concert performances and each year hold fundraising events – a cream tea recital in July and the Carols & Mince Pies event in December – great fun for choir and audiences alike.
The choir is also invited to take part in more significant musical events. In 2011 they were invited to join the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Huddersfield Choral Society and both Liverpool Cathedral choirs for a performance of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, the Symphony of a Thousand. The initial performance was in Liverpool Cathedral conducted by the Philharmonic’s conductor Vasily Petrenko. For many, it was a ‘never to be forgotten’ experience. Later that year, the choir travelled to Porto for a repeat performance. The choir also sometimes joins the Southport Bach Choir in performance and will sing Carmina Burana with them at Trinity in June this year.
It seems there has been music at Trinity since its earliest days. Following the building of the very first church on this site in 1837 an organ was added some three years later. The first mention of a choir dates from just a year later.
The strength of music at Trinity might well result from the foundation of the first church at the same time that the Oxford movement was revolutionising worship throughout the Church of England. It was probably with the appointment of David Bowman in 1964 that the modern story of music at Trinity begins. He initiated the tradition of the choir visiting a Cathedral each summer for a week to sing the daily services in the absence of the resident choir. This practice continues to this day with the choir having visited most of England’s cathedrals. David Bowman was succeeded in 1970 by David Williams who served Trinity for a remarkable 37 years. In 2008 David Williams retired and Ian Wells was appointed Director of Music. Much was accomplished in Ian’s time; he stood down at the end of 2017. The choir is presently without a Director of Music and is led by Geraldine Wikeley.
Music has remained at the heart of our worship. The choir probably derives as great a satisfaction in singing a good Choral Evensong on a wet and cold Wednesday in February with a tiny congregation as it does singing with hundreds at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve or on the first Sunday morning of August in a Cathedral.
Whilst Trinity has been privileged to enjoy the services of top class choirs over very many years, its choristers have been at least as privileged to sing here week in week out, and in the nation’s great cathedrals. Over the years since David Bowman’s time, the annual week at a cathedral has continued and is still regarded as the high point of the choir’s year. Times and fashions may have changed but the willingness of choir members to rehearse for long hours to achieve performance standard music for a full week of services hasn’t; neither, one suspects, has the thrill of singing in some of the nation’s great cathedrals. In the last 20 years, the choir has sung in the intimacy of Southwell Minster, the vastness of Liverpool Cathedral, the splendour of St Georges Chapel Windsor, the modernity of Guildford and Coventry and the grandeur of Wells and Worcester. This year the choir will sing in Carlisle, a location last visited a decade ago.
Long may it continue!