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Singing from same hymn sheet


They come from diverse backgrounds and cover a range of ages, but the members of the Schola Choir at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral share the common bond of celebrating their faith through song.

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Members of the choir agree that it is their love of music and singing that initially brought them together. However, the wonderful friendships that have since been formed and the way their faith has been nourished have been some of the ‘bonus’ outcomes of their involvement in the group.

Over the past 16 months the choir has grown from about five to 13 regular members, comprising four men and nine women.

The Schola meet each Saturday at 5pm for rehearsal in the music room before singing at the 6pm Mass in the Cathedral, where they are usually accompanied on the Casavant Frères organ played by Dr Amir Robin-Karas.

Choir conductor and manager of Cathedral Parish Music, Timothy Davey, described the Schola members as a “happy and dedicated group” of volunteers.

One of the original members of the choir is 73-year-old Theo ter Bogt who said he joined because of his “love of sacred music and choral singing” that stemmed from his boyhood days.

“I belonged to the Catholic boys’ school choir as a child and we trained for and sang at most feast day Masses. All the hymns in those days were sung in Latin,” he explained.

“I find being a member of the choir is spiritually uplifting and I enjoy the wonderful friendship of the choir members.”

Theo added that singing in the choir has also given him a “deeper and more meaningful” understanding of his faith and love for Jesus.

Anna Vnuk is one of the choir’s newer members, having joined in February this year.

“I was immediately welcomed by a group of caring people. They care about each other, they care about their faith and they care about creating a prayerful experience for the congregation through their singing.”

Anna said there were “all levels” of singers in the choir, “and not all of us can read music”.

“Joining Schola is a great way to participate in the liturgical celebration,” she said.

Debbie Rumere has been with the choir for several years and explained how singing “deepens my participation in the Mass and in prayer”.

“I enjoy being a member of the choir because I can share my religious faith with a group of people who also share that faith.

“I have many friends who are not Catholics and I can never talk about my faith with them, as much as I love and respect those relationships. In order to function as a person, I need the Mass to support my spirituality and reflect on my faith.”

Like her fellow singers, Debbie paid tribute to the music directors who have guided the choir over the years.

“Past and present directors of music are so knowledgeable about liturgical music and the Catholic faith. Hymns sung at different times of the Catholic calendar give us the opportunity to reflect on joy, sorrow, love, faith, truth, forgiveness – all those human emotions that determine how (we) relate to one another.

“When we get it right and sing really well there is a kind of beauty that touches our hearts and minds, that beauty we share with other choristers, the priest and the congregation.”


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