Music at St George’s
The Cathedral’s distinguished Organist and Master of the Choristers – Dr Joseph Nolan – is responsible for training and conducting the Cathedral Choir and Consort. Joseph is also Artistic Director of the Cathedral’s Concert Series, which is now recognised as one of the most important events in the cultural life of Western Australia.
The primary function of the Choirs is to sing at the choral services in the Cathedral, where music has traditionally occupied a position of much importance, drawing on the great treasures of the sacred choral heritage, and embracing music from many different styles and schools of composition.
The Cathedral Choir also performs and broadcasts nationally on ABC radio and TV, and has toured internationally – travelling to France for Anzac Day 2008, with performances at Amiens Cathedral and St Sulpice, Paris.
The Cathedral Consort, formed in 2008 by Dr Nolan, is a professional choir of up to 24 singers. It is firmly established now not only in the cultural life of WA, but across Australia and has collaborated with many leading groups in the Perth International Arts Festival.
The West Organ, which was installed in 1993 in a specially constructed gallery, has undergone significant and extensive tonal refinements. The addition of a 32′ contra bombarde and an en chamade trumpet have completed the transformation of this instrument. The Chancel Organ, in the chamber under the Bell Tower, is designed to accompany choirs singing in the Chancel, and the Chamber Organ, built in 1987, can be placed anywhere in the Cathedral to serve as a continuo instrument.
The Cathedral’s peal of bells, founded as a memorial to Queen Victoria, can be heard each Sunday before the 10.00am Eucharist and 5.00pm Evensong.
Each bell is rung by one person, who turns it in full circle by means of a rope attached to a wooden wheel, and running down through the floor to the ringer below. The methods are rung by memory, and co-ordinated by a conductor who rings one of the bells. It takes some time to master the art of controlling and handling a bell, and the St George’s ringers are extremely skilled.
Ringing practice is on Tuesdays at 6.00pm, and visiting ringers are always warmly welcomed.
Concerts At One, the Cathedral’s lunchtime concerts, are an opportunity for music students and local musicians to perform in a unique environment to an appreciative audience. The concerts feature senior high school and tertiary music students, and guest performers.