Music

Music plays an integral part in the worship of St Paul’s Cathedral. Since 1888, the Cathedral’s Choir of Boys and Men has been an important part of the musical life of our city. Since 2016, a new Choir of Girls, Women and Men shares in the musical leadership of our Cathedral. Three organists contribute to our rich musical tradition. 

The Cathedral’s musical life is coordinated by our Director of Music. A designated Music Foundation was established in 1993 to encourage philanthropic donors to ensure that the musical life of the Cathedral is resourced.


 

Our Girls’ Voices Patron

In May 2018, Dr Deborah Cheetham AO accepted the Dean’s offer to become the Patron of the Girls’ Voices of the Cathedral choir. Dr Cheetham – a proud Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator – has been a leader in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years.

Dr Cheetham had early successes with one-woman shows Short Black Opera Café, Death Scenes and Drama Queens and ’Til The Black Lady Sings which combined her talents as a writer, performer and entrepreneur. In 2007, she was awarded a two-year Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, giving her the opportunity to create Australia’s first Indigenous opera. Pecan Summer, which tells the story of the 1939 Cummeragunja walk-off, premiered in October 2010 with an all-Indigenous cast, and its success led to the foundation of Short Black Opera Company, a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the discovery and development of Indigenous opera singers. As Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Company Deborah has assisted many Indigenous singers to find their voice through the powerful medium of opera.

In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Deborah was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, for encouraging the development of Indigenous artists, and for innovation in performance.

Having grown up in a Baptist family, Deborah has a strong affinity for church music. She first came into contact with St Paul’s Cathedral when she sang at the State Funeral of Sir Ninian Stephen last spring, and has since then attended a rehearsal of the Girls’ Voices and met on several occasions with a leadership team from the Girls’ Choir School, the Cathedral and Music Foundation. She is very pleased to be formalising this association through her patronage of the Girls’ Voices, and has been delighted by the warmth of her welcome into the Cathedral community. We share her delight, and are honoured to name her our patron.

Dean Andreas said: ‘My conversations with Deborah have reminded me why we invest so much time and so many resources in our ministry of music: because we believe that music is able to bring together people and enable them to share in community, and – especially when singing hymns and spiritual songs – in communion with God’.

Lunchtime Concert Series

A series of lunchtime concerts was launched in April 2013 to encourage city workers and others to come into and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Cathedral during the day.  These half hour recitals at 1pm on Wednesdays (unless otherwise indicated) provide fine music and space for contemplation in the midst of a busy week. Admission is by donation.

Music Lists

Current Music Lists

The Baptism of Our Lord – Epiphany 2: 12-19Jan

Epiphany 2 – Conversion of Paul / Australia Day: 19-26Jan

Conversion of Paul / Australia Day – Presentation of Christ in the Temple: 26Jan-2Feb

The T C Lewis Organ

St Paul’s Cathedral is fortunate to have a very fine pipe organ which accompanies the choir at choral services. The organ was built by T C Lewis and Co of Brixton, England, and over six and half thousand pounds were spent on its construction, shipping and installation before it was played at the Cathedral’s opening in 1891.

The Music Foundation

Since 1993, St Paul’s Cathedral Music Foundation has supported the musical life of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne. In 2017, the Music Foundation made generous grants of $200,000 to support the Cathedral’s rich musical life. In 2018 we are hoping to increase that figure.

Cathedral Bells

The bells arrived in late August 1889, and were installed for the dedication service Friday, November 15 at 11am. and used to farewell the then Governor of Victoria Sir Henry Loch on that same day. The bells have been used since this time to ring for church services and civic occasions.