Music and choral director for Wellington’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Michael Fletcher, is taking a two-month sabbatical from July to September this year. He will visit UK and Paris to learn first-hand about their Cathedral choirs, repertoires and school music programmes.
Michael will attend the international summer school of music workshops and seminars in Liverpool run by the Royal School of Chamber Music. ‘I’m particularly interested in Church services sung daily, and the workshops on Plain Song and techniques for changing voices for boys,’ he says.
‘I’m also attending the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester – a week-long programme of choral and orchestral concerts, cathedral services, solo and chamber music recitals, masterclasses, and talks.
‘I am fortunate to have contacts in the UK, which will enable me to visit Catholic Cathedral music houses and schools at Westminster Cathedral, Brompton Oratory, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and Leeds Cathedral. Everyone of them has different aspects to their services and repertoires. Some have specialist music schools and I want to see how they manage those. Leeds has a huge choral outreach. Following a government funded ‘Sing Up’ programme some years ago, several Cathedrals set up choral programmes in schools, training teachers in music and singing. Leeds has kept it going and the Archdiocese now funds the programme and makes money as well.
In Paris Michael will spend time at St-Suplice and Notre Dame observing services and the organ gallery, and taking an improvisation lesson with organist Daniel Roth.
Michael’s largely self-funded study tour has received generous support from Sacred Heart Cathedral congregation as well as from friends, colleagues and music groups. If you would like to help please email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (04) 496-1718.