Choral singing has always been an important dimension of the musical tradition of St Francis’. Today, we are pleased to offer singers a wide range of opportunities for involvement across a number of choral groups that support and enhance congregational song.
- St Francis' Choir
- Julian Singers/Musica Camara
- Filipino Choir of St Francis'
- Kumali Coree
- St Francis' Youth Choir
St Francis' Choir gave its first performance in October 1845 at the official opening of St Francis' Church - the first Catholic church of the infant colony, and today, Melbourne's oldest building. The erection of the church, designed by Samuel Jackson, had been an ecumenical project that took six years to complete. St Francis' became the cathedral of Melbourne in 1848 and remained so until the new St Patrick's Cathedral was ready in 1869.
At the height of the Victorian era the choir was at the forefront of musical excellence in Melbourne with its own orchestra frequently combining with visiting opera companies and welcoming such famous artists as Anna Bishop, Amy Castles and Nellie Melba.
In 1961 the choir was reformed as a mixed group by Fr Chappy Rayson SSS. He was succeeded as Director in 1967 by Roger Heagney, and in 1998 by Tony Way. Orchestral Masses by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Gounod, Faure and many others remain an important aspect of the choir's work. The choir has premiered works by many Australian composers and has undertaken two highly successful tours in Europe.
St Francis' Choir welcomes new singers in all voice parts. The choir has regular commitments and an extensive repertoire. Therefore, some choral experience and/or musical training, together with some sight-reading ability, are desirable. The choir rehearses every Thursday night from 7.30 pm till 10.00 pm and on Sundays from 9.30 am for the 11.00 am Mass. There are also occasional Saturday workshops before major religious festivals. For an interview or to discuss members of the Choir please contact Tony Way, Director of Music.
The Julian Singers/Musica Camara is the amalgam of the Julian Singers formed by Fr Chappy Rayson SSS in 1973 and Musica Camara founded by Sr Deirdre Browne IBVM in 1990.
This group welcomes enthusiastic singers of all ages and rehearses weekly on Tuesday afternoons and sings once a month at the Saturday evening Eucharist. The interesting but accessible repertoire ranges from classic to contemporary. Musical and vocal skills are enhanced through the rehearsals.
Director: Ms Beverley Phillips
Telephone: 03 9639 4560
Among the diverse cultures of people that worship at St Francis are the Filipinos, who regularly attend the Filipino Mass held at 2.30pm every second Sunday of the month. The first Filipino Mass was held through the initiative of Fr Ed Wood (who spent many years as a priest in Davao City, Philippines) with the support of the Blessed Sacrament Congregation 18 years ago.
Occasionally travelling from as far as country Victoria, devoted Catholic Filipinos visiting family and friends attend the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in an atmosphere similar to their home country with mostly Tagalog hymns sung with great enthusiasm by the Filipino Choir of St Francis'. Bonded together by their loves for music, the choir consists of almost 40 Filipino professionals and students who volunteer their time and resources at practice and during Mass.
Chaplain: Fr Alfred Yap SSS
Telephone: 03 9663 2495
Kumali Coree was founded in 1974 by Sr Kathleen Boschetti MSC at the request of Fr Chappy Rayson. The Kumali Soloists comprise a small group from Kumali Coree. ''Kumali Coree' is aboriginal for 'Sacred Song'. The group sings much local liturgical music and rehearses on the last Thursay of the month at 5.30 pm in All Saints Parish in Fitzroy.
Director: Sr Kathleen Boschetti MSC
Telephone: 03 9481 7578
St. Francis Youth Choir is a non-audition choir of young people that rehearses weekly on Wednesday evenings and sings for the monthly Tertiary Students Mass, and occasionally at other services as invited. The choir promotes the tradition of liturgical choral singing among young adults and sings a wide range of contemporary and classical choral music. The choir also engages in many social activities throughout the year. Young adults, both local and international, beginners and experienced singers, are all invited to join and enjoy singing together.
Director: Mr Rhys Arvidson
Telephone: (03) 9639 4560
Mr Tony Way, Mr Anthony Halliday, Ms Beverley Phillips, Mr Phillip Carmody, Sr Patricia Mitchell RGS, Mr Paul Taylor, Sr Kathleen Boschetti MSC, Mr Rhys Arvidson, Dr Andrew Mariotti, Mr Kevin Meese
Further information on the music program
Music Office: (03) 9639 4560