Rochester Cathedral welcomed members of FCOCA to their Annual Festival in September 2014. The first time the Festival was held here was in 1914, and the most recent occasion was in 1935, so a return visit was 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 Music Department goes from strength to strength. The Direct of Music has overall responsibility for music in the Cathedral and especially the training of the Boy Choristers. The Assistant Director of Music and Sub-Organist directs the Girl Choristers and jointly directs Rochester Cathedral Children’s Choir. The Girl’s section of the Cathedral Choir is well established and takes an almost equal share in the leading of our worship
2014 saw a major building project to display the Textus Roffensis in the crypt. This volume, the forerunner of the Magna Carta, was of a monk at Rochester in 1122. Textus Roffensis is a handwritten set of documents known as a Codex. It is really two books bound together some time in the 14th century. The first part is a collection of law codes and Charters that affected how society behaved and was judged.
The Festival was a great success and all enjoyed Rochester and what its environs had to offer. The event concluded with a Festival Banquet held in the King’s School Hall. I often think we are the best kept secret in the South East!”
The Very Reverend Dr Mark Beach
This event had been many years in the planning and our local Rochester Association was pleased to welcome delegates to our Cathedral. 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. The Cathedral Tea Rooms provided tea/coffee and a cake when delegates arrived on the Friday courtesy of Rochester Cathedral Old Choristers’ Association.
The King’s Singers provided a concert along with the current Choristers on the Friday night prior to which the Federation Guests were welcomed with a drinks reception and buffet in the Deanery. The King’s Singers included one of our own Old Choristers from Rochester, Christopher Gabbitas, and it was a memorable evening.
On Saturday the Festival Evensong took place where the Boys and Girls Choirs sang to the usual high standard. A group ‘photo was taken afterwards. The Festival Banquet was held in the evening and the guest speaker was Andrew Carwood, Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral.
On Sunday there were the usual Sunday services followed by Lunch at local restaurant called the George Vaults located in the high street.
Rochester Cathedral Old Choristers’ Association