The musical tradition of the Cathedral is one of its greatest glories.
The Cathedral Choir, one of the finest in the country, comprises three sections (men, boys and girls) who perform both separately and in various combinations, of which the most frequent is the traditional formation of men and boys, though the girls now also sing regularly with the men. Between them, they sing services in the Cathedral several times each week during school term time, give concerts in the Cathedral and perform at other venues in the Midlands and beyond. Earlier in 2004 they had a very successful tour to Belgium and the Netherlands. Their repertoire extends from plainchant to recent compositions, some specially commissioned for the choir.
Former boy choristers include David Briggs, the international concert organist, while several recent choristers have won choral scholarships at Cambridge colleges.
Canon Marcus Huxley, the director of music, is always pleased to hear of people interested in joining any of the Cathedrals choirs. In addition an organ scholarship is awarded annually, as are choral scholarships to university and conservatoire students for both the mens choir and the girls choir. Canon Marcus can be contacted by email or by telephone on 0121 262 1846.
CDs available from the Cathedral shop include A Song of the Light (Music by Canon Marcus Huxley, performed by the Cathedral Choir,released in December 2010) My Dancing Day (released December 2004), On Christmas Night and a CD of Victorian organ music by Wesley, Smart and Stanford played by Canon Marcus Huxley (all Regent Records).
Not only is the Cathedral an active place of worship, it is also a popular venue for concerts and recitals. The Cathedral Choir gives concerts termly (usually on the last Friday of January, April and September at 7.30 pm), while the Cathedral Chorus (open to all singers) gives regular Saturday concerts on a "Come and Sing" basis. For further details, see the Events page or contact either the Director of Music or the Assistant Director of Music respectively.
The Cathedral also plays host to many choirs and ensembles throughout the year, including, for example, Ex Cathedra, the Birmingham Bach Choir and the University of Birmingham Singers and Orchestra. Details of these concerts can be obtained from the Cathedral Secretary or directly via the promoters' websites.
In addition there are a summer organ festival on Mondays at 1 pm and a series of informal Friday lunchtime concerts during term time throughout the year at 1.10pm, which last approximately 40 minutes. Details of these series can be found on the Events page or by e-mailing the Director of Music or the Assistant Director of Music respectively.
The organ dates in part from 1715 and is therefore contemporary with the building. Originally built by Schwarbrick, it has since been moved from its original position in a West end gallery, enlarged and modernized, most recently by Nicholsons in 1993. A full history and specification is available from the Cathedral shop.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will be taking part in the 300th anniversary celebrations between 22nd and 24th ...Read