Thursday 3 November 2022

Christmas 2022 with The Priory Singers, Belfast

We are delighted to tell you that our next concert is coming up on Saturday 3rd December 2022 in The Great Hall at Queen's University Belfast. With a lovely selection of music, from Holst to Howard Blake, and accompaniments ranging from guitar to recorder to French Horn, it will be a lovely evening and a special start to the festive season.

Numbers are limited at the venue so please make sure you get your tickets through a choir member. If you don't know anyone in the choir please text 07730560517 for information.  

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Service of Remembrance for Queen Elizabeth, Belfast 2022

 Last week Priory Singers was honoured to be asked to sing for the Memorial service for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in St Anne's Cathedral, in the presence of HM King Charles III and the Queen Consort.  

We are not a Cathedral choir, nor a parish choir, but we DO sing regularly in churches and cathedrals, and having recently returned from a week-long residency in Lincoln Cathedral, we were still in church-mode when the call came. The founder of the choir, Dr Harry Grindle, was for many years musical director at St Anne's Cathedral, so there was a connection there. We were all aware of what a privilege it was to be asked to take part in such a momentous and historic occasion. 

The Priory Singers at St Anne's Cathedral Belfast 

Now, our musical director is Mr Philip Bolton MBE, who only took up the position one week before the Memorial Service! We are very grateful for the magnificent job that Robert Thompson did over the past 12 years of whipping us into shape and were glad that he joined us to sing for this event. 

As you can imagine, rehearsals were aplenty - highly focussed and exacting. It was a fabulous experience for all of us. We were also pleased to have had Jack Wilson on organ. Jack has played for us on many occasions and was with us in Lincoln in August. 

Jack Wilson at the organ. 

Here is a link to an article written about the choir.

Please visit again for info on upcoming concerts and events. The next concert is in late November and a Christmas concert mid December. Venue to be confirmed. 

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Music for Lent

Priory Singers are pleased to announce that the next concert is on Friday 12th April 2019 in St Colmcille's Church, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast at 8pm.

We are singing exquisite music including The Reproaches by Sanders, Palestrina's Missa Pape Marcellie and more by Chilcott, Wesley and Bairstow.

Tickets cost £10 and can be bought in advance from any choir member, or on the door.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Recording of the Christmas CD, 2018!

The Priory Singers are delighted to announce that they have just finished recording the music for their upcoming album of Christmas music, with part proceeds going towards the Northern Ireland Kidney Patients' Association (NIKPA)

Priory Singers in Canterbury Cathedral, summer 2017

          In 2013 two long serving members of the choir (Philip and Amanda ) had kidney transplants.                
Last year Amanda asked the choir if they would like to record a CD of Christmas music to help raise money for the NIKPA and the choir readily agreed (half the money raised from the CD will go towards the cost of recording the album, and the other half will be donated to the NIKPA).

“The album is obviously for everyone and we hope it is universally well received.  However, having asked the choir to record it, I have my own personal hopes for the album.”  said Amanda, who was on dialysis (PD) for a year and a half and then was lucky enough to have a living donor transplant.

“I’d really like ALL the patients at the renal units to know that people are thinking about them;  I’d like all the staff to feel that it’s a bit of a thank you to them too for all they do for us;  and lastly, hopefully it can raise a bit of money for NIKPA!
Amanda (right) during a break in recording the CD, with fellow sopranos Judith and Julie

We were thinking about all the patients at the renal unit as we recorded the album, and I hope that comes across as they listen to the CD.” The NIKPA website is:

Philip has since retired from the choir (however, his carol “There Is No Rose” is performed by the choir on the CD).
Philip (right) with his son Stephen, who donated him a kidney.

The Priory Singers were formed in 1986 by the late Dr Harry Grindle. They are currently under the directorship of Mr Robert Thompson.

Their extensive repertoire includes music of all periods and their programmes frequently feature less familiar works as well as pieces specially written for them by local composers.

They have broadcast regularly on radio and and television and have made numerous appearances throughout Ireland. They have also undertaken summer residencies at English Cathedrals including: Hereford, Exeter, Lincoln, Gloucester, Canterbury, Ely, Tewkesbury, and a private performance at King’s College, Cambridge.  They have also travelled to Europe to perform in several prestigious venues.

Monday 17 October 2016

A glance back at events, and the Anniversary concert!

One of the (many!) highlights of our summer trip to Ely Cathdral was the Friday lunchtime concert, in The Lady chapel. 
In The Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral, 2016

The alter is graced by a large, modern statue of Mary, which you can see behind us in the photograph. While it was wonderful to sing in the Cathedral itself every day, The Lady Chapel gave us a completely different experience, both because of the quality of the sound it produced and also the connection to the audience. We sang to a full house, who were very appreciative. 

This coming Friday 21st October we are singing in the fantastic acoustic of St Molua's Church, Belfast. The programme includes many of the pieces that we sang in The Lady Chapel, such as the beautiful 'Abendlied' (Josef Rheinberger), 'O Magnum Mysterium'  (Lauridsen), Parry's 'I was glad when they said unto me', as well as works by Wood, Stopford, Howells and William Byrd.  

We would be delighted if you would join us for a joyful evening to celebrate 30 years of Priory Singing. 

Monday 19 September 2016

Summer of 2016

Not a cloud in the sky. Photo by J. Ireland

It is wonderful to have the opportunity to sing in a variety of venues and this summer we were thrilled to sing for a week in Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire. 

View from the back of the procession. Photo by J. Ireland. 
The acoustics were amazing throughout the Cathedral and it felt comfortable to sing there, particularly from the choir stalls. 
Jonny's view! Photo by J. Ireland
However,  during a tour of the building we learnt that there were many different spaces that choirs throughout time had been expected to sing from, including right at the top of the tower..! The photo below shows the beautifully painted ceiling and the panels of angels, seen from the ground. In days of old, the panels were opened and the young choristers sang from there.

A climb up the spiral stairs, and a walk across the roof gave us a lovely view across the fens.

A few brave souls making their way to the tower. 
John and Lorna looking out on the right, and Amanda bottom left

Once we reached the top, the guide opened some of the wooden panels, which allowed us to see just how enormous the Angels are (see above) as well as a great view back to earth (below). 

View from the tower. The centre of this photo shows the Choir Stalls where we sang every day. 
The photos below show the lovely choir room where we rehearsed.

Geoff's arrival! 
We were accompanied by Luke Bond who drove up from Truro to play for us.

Quartet rehearsal, photo by J. McDonald

This year we added a lunchtime concert to the programme. We worked hard all week to prepare, and on the morning of the concert we rehearsed for the first time in the Lady Chapel, a white interior in beautiful contrast to the colourful architecture throughout the rest of the Cathedral. It was an incredible experience - there was a long reverb and we could hear ourselves and each other so clearly that it was a little unnerving. We had a full audience for the concert, the acoustics of the Lady Chapel greatly adding to the experience.

       It was a very hot day though, so some members were glad to cool off afterwards..!!

A little extra ventilation. 

A choir trip is great fun and spending so much time together is bonding and great for the voice. Singing every day means a rehearsal in the mornings to prepare for Evensong, with plenty of time to relax in between and sample the local tea rooms!


Our next performance is our 30th Anniversary Concert on October 21st, in St Molua's Church Belfast. More details to follow. 

Saturday 17 October 2015

Concert at St Nicholas' Church, Belfast

Recently we had a very successful and well attended concert in St Nicholas where we performed music from Purcell to Gjeilo! If you think you might enjoy what we do, look out for future posts about up-coming events.

Here we are in action!!

Next event, Carols by Candlelight in St Patrick's Parish Church, Drumbeg, Friday December 18th 2016 @ 8.00pm.