Cathedral column: Farewell to our Music Director

WelCom April 2021 Tears flowed freely at the parish farewell for Michael Fletcher, Director of Music at Sacred Heart Cathedral for the past ten years. The occasion followed his final…

WelCom April 2021

Cathedral column: Farewell to our Music Director Archdiocese of Wellington
Fr James Lyons.
Cathedral column: Farewell to our Music Director Archdiocese of Wellington

Tears flowed freely at the parish farewell for Michael Fletcher, Director of Music at Sacred Heart Cathedral for the past ten years.

The occasion followed his final choral Mass on Sunday 14 March with tributes from choristers and parishioners emphasising Michael’s outstanding contribution to the cathedral, particularly in music ministry.

His resignation is deeply regretted but highlights the changed circumstances for the cathedral since its closure for earthquake strengthening in July 2019.

With Masses now celebrated in two separate venues, many parishioners have found it easier to go elsewhere. Neither venues are ideal for large choir presentations and there have been difficulties in continuing with the boys’ choir and the involvement of college choirs.

Fewer numbers have meant a fall-off in parish income and this, in turn, affects the day-to-day viability of the parish.

Covid-19, with its impact on employment and consequent fears regarding long-term personal security, has contributed to the increasing difficulty of fund-raising.

There has been much criticism of the parish’s handling of the situation leading to Michael’s resignation, but it was apparent from the time of the cathedral’s closure that his talent would be severely restricted.

Cathedral column: Farewell to our Music Director Archdiocese of Wellington
Michael Fletcher Director of Music in rehearsal with members of Sacred Heart Cathedral choir. Photo: WelCom

In his ten years at the helm, Michael Fletcher crafted a music department that helped identify the cathedral as a centre for both classical and popular music, a chorale and cultural venue and a training ground for young singers and musicians.

Scholarships were offered to tertiary students, voice and singing tuition given in the formation of a Boys’ Choir and the Cathedral Primary School had his services to develop its own musical talent.

Christmas and Easter liturgies were greatly enhanced with the involvement of a full orchestra.

None of this could effectively happen as long as the cathedral remained closed.

Hence the need to continue and even intensify efforts to restore Sacred Heart Cathedral, to bring it back to life, to make it once again a home of prayer and the spirit of music.

You can donate by Internet Banking to Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish A/c: 02 0506 0138488 025
(Reference: your surname and initials, and ‘Reopen’)