This Thursday, January 24th St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral will be the first cathedral in all of North America to receive a chorister endowment from the Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) centered in London, England. The award will be presented at Thursday’s 7 pm Choral Evensong.
The choral foundation at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral dates back to 1867, making it one of the first men and boys’ choirs in North America and was one of the first choirs of men and boys in the country. Now, it is one of only 30 remaining in the USA. There are currently 15 boy choristers and 12 salaried lay clerks (or choir men). The choir has travelled overseas extensively, making eight trips to the United Kingdom in the past 20 years.
The training, education and discipline of being part of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral choirs have helped form leaders and musicians. Among those who, as young boys, sang with the Men and Boys Choir are Aaron Bartley, who lives in Buffalo and founded PUSH, an advocacy group for the poor; William Eddins, one time Resident Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and present Music Director of the Edmonton Orchestra; Raymond Glover, editor for the Hymnal 1982, the official hymnal of the Episcopal Church USA; Paul Moravec, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music; and Valerian Ruminski, a bass who has sung with the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera, among others, and has also made a concert appearance in Messiah with the Buffalo Philharmonic.
The girls’ choir currently consists of 15 choristers and has developed a reputation as one of the finest ensembles of its kind in an American cathedral. During the past decade they also have toured extensively overseas including singing in several British cathedrals.
Formed in 1999, the Schola Cantorum (a mixed adult choir) deputizes for the cathedral choirs once a month and as needed. The Choir is intentionally a part-time ensemble, providing an opportunity for women and men who cannot make a weekly time commitment to sing the great choral repertoire of the Church and to offer it within its proper context of worship.
Currently all the costs of the music are funded by a modest ‘parish style’ congregation
and financial viability threatens the well-being of the choral foundation. For this reason a choir endowment has been established coinciding with the recent 140th anniversary of the choirs. Their goal is to raise $1.5 million over the next three years.
The organist/choirmaster is Mr. Jeremy S. Bruns who oversees four choirs to sing five weekly choral services as well as additional services and concerts. Mr. Bruns was previously Associate Organist at St Thomas Episcopal Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City, a parish internationally noted for its Men and Boys Choir, but which operates a boarding school to train choristers.
Christopher Gower, FCM’s Grants Secretary has said, “As we are a world-wide
organization of nearly 4,000 members, with a significant number in the USA, we are
keen to support cathedral music wherever it is being maintained. We hope it will be both a support and an encouragement to all those involved with the music at the Buffalo Cathedral. I have had personal experience of the great work being done there which is set in quite a challenging urban environment.”
Since its foundation 52 years ago, FCM has given grants to the choirs of cathedrals, collegiate and large parish churches in an amount equalling approximately $3,000,000. Its members share a love of cathedral music and through the organization, supports and encourages the singing of daily services and helps to preserve this priceless heritage. Enabling St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo to preserve this tradition is dear to the hearts of all FCM members.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mr. Trevor Godfrey, FCM Press & PR Manager
Tel: 01926 831820; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Jeremy Bruns, Organist/Choirmaster of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
Tel: 716-855-0900; e-mail: email@example.com