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9 Mar 2015

The Cathedral's Group Choirs Festival took place on the weekend of February 28, marking the 175th anniversary of the institution.

The concert saw choirs from The Cathedral's Group universities across the country, gather for an evening celebration, which culminated in a performance from 300 voices.

This year, choirs representing 12 universities from as far afield as Cumbria in the north, Chichester in the south, Canterbury in the east and Plymouth in the west, sang individually in the Cathedral and then united to perform two choral works, Handel's Zadok the Priest and Haydn's Maria Theresa Mass.

Anna Mackenzie, 175th anniversary project co-ordinator, said: “The Choirs’ Festival was an extraordinary event which we were proud to host as part of our celebratory year. 

“To have 300 voices surrounding the audience in the nave of Chester Cathedral to sing a pitch-perfect performance of Zadok the Priest when the individual choirs had only rehearsed together for the first time earlier that day, was an emotional experience which literally made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.”

In addition to joining the massed choirs, the University of Chester choir sang Exultate Jubilate, a contemporary classical piece by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins, best known for his work The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.

The 2015 Cathedrals Group Choirs’ Festival marked the swansong of music director Vicki Bulgin, who has conducted the University of Chester Choir for 15 years and formed Chester Deo Gratias Choir in 2009. 

She is a former teacher, having held posts in Cambridge, Bishop’s Stortford and Rhyl.

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