Preparations are now in high gear for the Diocesan Festival Choir’s 90th Anniversary Concert Season which will open on Sunday, November 29 with a Gala Benefit Performance at King’s House, starting at 6.00 p.m. A second performance will be mounted on Sunday, December 6 at 4.00 p.m. at the Kingston Parish Church.
The longest standing choral group in Jamaica and the Caribbean, the 40-member ensemble will perform under the baton of noted Choir Director Geoffrey Shields. The Concert programme will feature excerpts from the well-known oratorio, “Messiah,” written by composer George Frideric Handel, as well as selected pieces from the Choir’s extensive repertoire.
The Rt. Rev. Robert Thompson, Chairman of the Choir’s Management Committee, says part proceeds from the Concert Season will be donated to the Rebuilding Fund for the Wortley Home for Girls, which was destroyed by fire on June 29.
The Bishop reports that a Concert Planning and Fundraising Committee led by well-known businessman, James “Jimmy” Moss-Solomon, has been working on the logistics for the performances which will be accompanied by an orchestra, and will also feature three guest soloists.
The Diocesan Festival Choir has established a strong tradition of excellence in choral music and, over the years, it has attracted many noted singers, conductors and accompanists to its ranks. It was formed in 1924 at the initiative of the then Bishop of Jamaica, George Frederick Cecil DeCarteret, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Diocese of Jamaica. One year later, it became a permanent organization under the baton of Mr. George Goode who, at the time, was Choir Master and Organist at St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Victoria Avenue, Kingston. Others who have served in this capacity include well-known practitioners in the music fraternity, such as, Mrs. Hazel Lawson-Streete, Mr. Maurice Gordon, Mr. Paul Ramsey and Mr. Michael Sutherland.