Sixth Orchestral Mass gains participation from 22 WA schools
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB was celebrant at the annual Orchestral Mass on 25 July at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. The Mass was participated by 115 choir members from WA schools. Photo: Max Hoh.
By Amanda Murthy
The blend of voices and symphony of instruments displayed at the Saint Mary’s Cathedral Orchestral Mass, is testament that sacred music is still very much alive and celebrated in Western Australian Catholic culture.
After a year break due to covid restrictions, the Orchestral Mass held its largest event in its’ sixth-year history – with the involvement of a 68-piece orchestra and a total of 115 choir members from WA schools (Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church and public schools) - joining the St Mary’s Cathedral choir at its’ 11am Sunday Mass on 25 July, celebrated by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB.
Event Coordinator and St Mary’s Cathedral Director of Music Jacinta Jakovcevic spoke to The Record about the history of the event, and the preparations which took place.
“Apart from Holy Week and Christmas, this is our biggest annual project. It takes close to 12 months to plan and prepare - there are several people who work very hard behind the scenes in the months prior and especially in the days and weeks leading up to the Mass,” Ms Jakovcevic explained.
St Mary’s Cathedral Director of Music Jacinta Jakovcevic said that the Orchestral Mass held on 25 July is more than just a display of talent and sacred music, but it is a way of evangelisation. By Max Hoh.
“One of our crews is our ‘talent scout crew’ who work with me closely many months in advance recruiting musicians and taking a lead role at rehearsals and at the Mass. This crew is comprised of some students, the guest conductor and one to two staff members of schools involved.
“Our guest conductor this year, Director of Music at St Norbert’s College Chadwick Beins, was actually our first Cathedral Organ Scholar (2009 to 2012) and a Cathedral Chorister - it’s wonderful to see the fruits of our efforts in the training of young musicians here at the Cathedral Music Programme and to see the development and achievements of our former musicians,” she added.
Mother Teresa Catholic College, Prendiville Catholic College, Iona Presentation College, and Christchurch Grammar School were among the newcomers this year, and the event gained interest from schools as far Kalgoorlie, with John Paul College.
Speaking on the selection of the songs chosen for this Mass, Ms Jakovcevic credited the 2008 Sydney World Youth Day as a source for many of the hymns and parts of the Mass.
Around 115 choir members from WA schools (Catholic, Anglican, Uniting Church and public schools) – joining the St Mary’s Cathedral choir at its’ 11am annual Orchestral Mass on 25 July, celebrated by Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB. Photo: Max Hoh.
“The Sanctus of the Sydney WYD Mass (‘Missa Benedictus qui Venit’ of George Palmer for example, really helps us enter into the grandeur of this part of the Mass continuing on from the crescendo of the closing of the preface and leading us into this majestic song of the ‘angels and saints’ - it’s a super exciting piece to play especially for our brass and percussion players,” Ms Jakovcevic cited.
“This year, we also included in the programme Geoffrey Abdullah’s ‘Our Lady of the Southern Cross’ also written for the 2008 WYD, saluting our patroness with this most beautiful, lyrical piece.”
Ms Jakovcevic added that an event of this grandeur is more than just a display of talent and sacred music, but it is a way of evangelisation.
The Orchestral Mass held on 25 July at Saint Mary’s Cathedral took 12 months to plan and prepare. Photo: Max Hoh.
“Each year, we have many young musicians from across Perth and regional WA, giving them the chance to network, be at Mass together offering their time, gifts and talents to God, and sharing these moments with the faithful present,” she added.
“There’s always a wonderful atmosphere in the Cathedral on the day itself as parents of the musicians and school staff come along. It’s so wonderful to bring so many people together like this - in prayer and praise of our Creator and our Blessed Mother. The students get excited about this whole event which is so great see.”