Music

Music plays an important role in life at the Cathedral, just as it does in the city of St. John's.  Whether it be the powerful organ, the uplifting choir, or the inspirational hymns sung from the Book of Common Praise, music at the Cathedral is sure to enhance your spiritual life.

Service music lists are made for September to June (the choir is not on duty in July and August).

Current Service Music List:  November

Archived Music Lists: Here are the music lists for January, February, March, April, May, June, September, October, November, and December.

Organ and Piano

The Cathedral organ, originally built in 1904, was the only organ in Canada designed by the Englishman Robert Hope-Jones.  The organ in its present form is largely the work of Casavant of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, who rebuilt it in 1927.  However, some of the pipes remain from the Hope-Jones organ. The organ has four keyboards for the hands, a pedal keyboard for the feet, 52 speaking stops, and approximately 3,600 pipes.

In 2018 we received a generous donation of a baby grand piano. It is used to accompany anthems for which the composer has written a piano rather than an organ score.

Cathedral Choir

The Cathedral Choir sings each Sunday at 11 am, and usually on the second Sunday of each month at 7 pm, from September to June, with limited participation during the Summer months. The Choir has an extensive repertoire of pieces and occasionally travels to other churches in the Diocese.

The Cathedral Choir is always looking for new members!  We welcome members of any church or denomination who are interested in sharing in our musical worship. The Choir rehearses in the Crypt on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm, from the first Wednesday after Labour Day to near the end of June. For more information on the Cathedral Choir, please
contact the Musical Director, Sharon Whalen, at sharonewhalen@hotmail.com

Choral and Organ Scholarships

The Scholarship Program for choral and organ scholars has supported dozens of students in their academic and church life.  Undergraduate and secondary students are eligible for these scholarships, and are expected to attend weekly rehearsals and services.

This very important program would not exist without the constant support of many generous parishioners. We are very grateful for this support and would like to thank all those who have donated to this program through the years. If you are interested in donating to the Choral Scholarship fund, please
contact the Cathedral Office.

Choral Scholarships and Organ Scholarships are offered each year by the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in order to provide students opportunities to:

1. enrich their choral experience;

2. assume a leadership role in their section of the Cathedral Choir;

3. provide financial resources to support their studies.

Choral Scholars gain experience singing the Anglican Choral Repertoire (e.g., Byrd, Gibbons, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Stanford, Howells, Rutter) at worship services. Candidates must be full time students (not necessarily voice or music students) with good sight-reading skills and suitable choral experience.

The Cathedral of St John the Baptist has a strong SATB choral tradition, a beautiful Gothic-style church building with fine acoustics, a four manual Casavant pipe organ and an impressive choral library. Singers experience a wide range of music regarding style and period.  Sight reading skills are generally greatly enhanced by the richness and volume of music prepared and presented by the Cathedral Choir. (See also the Music page).

Scholars may also avail of additional musical opportunities such as solo vocal or instrumental contributions to regular liturgy.  The Cathedral is also equipped for audio recording and may be available for scholars’ use in this capacity with prior approval.  Scholars may also apply to use the Cathedral for recitals as appropriate to the setting.

Interested scholars may have opportunities to rehearse and conduct the Cathedral Choir with choral selections under the supervision of the Musical Director.

Organ Scholars are expected to be regular members of the Cathedral Choir and subject to the expectations outlined above for Choral Scholars.  In addition, Organ Scholars may arrange for private organ lessons with the Cathedral Organist and practising privileges on the cathedral’s Casavant organ when the building is not otherwise in use.  The amount of the scholarship will be applied to the charges incurred for organ instruction.  Organ scholars will have opportunity to play voluntaries and accompaniments during services as well as to apply to use the cathedral organ for recording or recitals.

Scholarship Categories and Responsibilities

There are two categories of scholarships.  High School Students (Levels 1 to 3) are eligible for a Junior Scholarship in the amount of $1000 per annum.  Post-Secondary students are eligible for a scholarship of $2000 per annum.  Scholarships are paid in three installments; at Christmas, Easter, and the Patronal Festival in the amounts of:

Junior $400/$400/$200                                    Senior $800/$800/$400

Choral and Organ Scholars commit to attend choir rehearsals each Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:30 pm, and sing at the 11 am service every Sunday, and at 7 pm on the second Sunday of each month. Prior to each service there is a mandatory 30 minute warmup.

The Cathedral Choir sings between the Sunday after Labour Day and the Patronal Festival (the Sunday closest to June 24) with a week off after each of Christmas and Easter Day. There are occasional additional services such as Maundy Thursday, Christmas Eve, ordinations, etc. at which the choir also sings.

Scholars should understand that they are being paid for their attendance and leadership in rehearsals and liturgy.This commitment should supersede other voluntary events.  Absences from any of the outlined commitments are permissible only with prior approval of the Musical Director. More than three absences per term (two rehearsals and one service) may result in disqualification from, or a reduction in, the scholarship. In cases of illness and other emergency situations, the Musical Director is to be notified of the circumstances at the earliest possible time.

Please Note: Choral and Organ Scholarships do not carry teaching privileges.

The Cathedral is at 16 Church Hill. It is in the block bounded by Gower Street, Church Hill, Duckworth Street and Cathedral Street. The office and choir entrance is off the parking lot.

For further information, applicants should contact the Musical Director, Sharon Whalen, at sharonewhalen@hotmail.com