Worcestershire people are rightly proud of our musical heritage and of Edward Elgar, the famous composer who was born and lived in this area. The three choirs of Hereford, Gloucester and Worcester cathedrals have been keeping this heritage alive for the past 289 years by staging the world famous Three Choirs Festival every year in one of these three cathedral cities. This festival of choral music is the oldest choral festival in the world and this year’s event opened in Gloucester cathedral on Saturday July 23.
I was honoured to represent Worcester by processing in state from Gloucester Guildhall to the Cathedral, accompanied by our mace bearers and sword bearer in their resplendent uniforms. A sizeable crowd seemed to be enjoying our procession as we moved along the pedestrianised shopping streets in the glorious sunshine.
Inside the cathedral, we joined bishops and clergy representing all three cathedrals for the opening service of the festival. The Three Choirs Festival Chorus, joined by Gloucester cathedral choir and youth choir, were accompanied by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Symphonic Brass and Percussion and Jonathan Hope on the organ. They filled the enormous space with superb and uplifting music.
On Tuesday, 50 members of the Pax Christi Chorale arrived in Worcester from Toronto for a brief tour of our city before their lunchtime concert in our own Cathedral. I was delighted to welcome them into the Mayor’s Parlour before they headed to the Elgar Birthplace Museum and then to Gloucester to join the Three Choirs.
They will return to Worcester’s Three Choirs Festival in July 2017, which promises to be as excellent as ever.
I also welcomed visitors from our French twin town Le Vesinet, and Bologna, Italy and opened the Zip Yard, the latest shop to appear in The Shambles.