The Federation of Cathedral Old Choristers’ Associations
Annual Festival, Friday 26th to Sunday 28th September 2014
“Here in Rochester we are looking forward very much to welcoming members of FCOCA to the Annual Festival in September. The first time the Festival was held here was one hundred years ago, in 1914, and the most recent occasion was in 1935, so a return visit is especially welcome!
In some ways nothing has changed over all those years. The choral tradition is in great heart as we worship God in this ancient building in the time honoured ways. In other ways, nothing stands still:
The Girl’s section of the Cathedral Choir is well established and takes an almost equal share in the leading of our worship.
You may have heard the programme on Radio 4 introduced by Chris Gabbitas, a former Rochester Chorister and member of the King’s Singers. If you did you will agree with me that the boys are in fine voice under the leadership of Scott Farrell, our Director of Music.
2014 will see a major building project to display the Textus Roffensis in the crypt. This volume, the forerunner of the Magna Carta was written by a monk at Rochester in 1122. We had hoped that the work would be completed by September but this now looks unlikely.
In any event, we are sure that the Festival will be a great success and that you will enjoy all that Rochester and its environs has to offer. I often think we are the best kept secret in the South East!”
The Very Reverend Dr Mark Beach
“This event has been many years in the planning and our local Rochester association is very much looking forward to welcoming you all to our Cathedral. The following pages provide information on the weekend’s events, accommodation and other such pointers. During the planning of the Festival we have been focused on ensuring that the weekend is both entertaining and accessible to all. Whilst we are extremely proud of Rochester and the Cathedral we realise it is probably does not have the same draw as some of the other Cathedrals. Obviously we have no idea why, as Rochester Cathedral boasts a wealth of history and significance as well as being a stunning building. This has led us as an association to think very carefully with regard to costing and as a result a decision to depart from the normal. For this year’s Festival Weekend we are asking delegates to book their own accommodation. Further on in this pack you will find a useful list of Hotels and B&Bs along with a rough distance to the Cathedral. The main booking in and information point will be in the Cathedral North Transept and this will be manned through the weekend. We are also pleased to say that the Cathedral Tea Rooms will provide tea/coffee and a cake when you arrive on Friday courtesy of the Rochester Cathedral Old Choristers’ Association.
We are very pleased that the King’s Singers will be providing a concert along with the current Choristers on the Friday night prior to which the Federation Guests will be welcomed with a drinks reception and buffet in the Deanery. The King’s Singers includes one of our own Old Choristers from Rochester, Christopher Gabbitas, and it promises to be a great evening.
On Saturday we have the Festival Evensong where the Boys and Girls Choirs will be singing and this will be of the usual high standard. A group photo will be taken after evensong in the Cathedral. Later on in the evening will be the Festival Banquet and we are very pleased that our guest speaker will be Andrew Carwood, Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral. The venue for the banquet is limited to 110 people so tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
On Sunday there are the usual Sunday services and for those who’d like to, we will reserve places for Lunch at local restaurant called the George Vaults located in the high street.
It promises to be a great weekend and we are looking forward to seeing you all.”
Mr Christopher Royall – Chairman, Rochester Cathedral Old Choristers’ Association