Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Jamaica's longest serving choir begins anniversary celebrations today

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Members of the Diocesan Festival Choir performing during a gala presentation.

The widely-acclaimed Diocesan Festival Choir, which is the longest-serving choral group in Jamaica and which has been in the vanguard of classical and church music presentations, marks its 90th Anniversary this year.

Several items from the choir's diverse repertoire will be featured in a short recital during the anniversary service to launch the milestone celebrations today at the Kingston Parish Church, starting at 3:30 p.m.

These include Sanctus, a piece commissioned for the celebrations and written by Carl Hines, a member of the Choir. The anthem hymn, The King of Love My Shepherd Is by Harry Rowe Shelley; The Lord's Prayer by Eric Levy and the traditional Rastafarian chant, Holy Mount Zion, arranged by Olive Lewin, will complete the afternoon's presentation.

Celebrant at the service will be the Right Reverend Dr Robert Thompson, Suffragan Bishop of Kingston, who is also chairman of the choir's management committee.

The sermon will be delivered by the Right Reverend Alfred Reid, retired Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

"Ninety years in the life of any organisation is a major achievement. The Diocesan Festival Choir has established a strong tradition of excellence in choral music, and, over the years, it has attracted many noted singers, conductors and accompanists to its ranks," said Thompson.

The Diocesan Festival Choir was formed in 1924 at the initiative of the then Bishop of Jamaica, George Frederick Cecil DeCarteret, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Diocese of Jamaica.

Over the years, the choir has performed at worship services, concerts, civic and national events. Comprising just over 40 members, the ensemble includes several of Jamaica's most outstanding singers who also perform with other groups such as the National Chorale and the National Dance Theatre Company singers.

Although the Diocesan Festival Choir operates under the auspices of the Anglican Church, its membership includes a cross-section of the Christian community.