22 April 2024

Choir learns 300 years of coronation music in a month

The Christ Church South Yarra choir has been hard at work rehearsing for the upcoming coronation concert. Picture: Christ Church South Yarra

Maya Pilbrow

31 May 2023

The choir at Christ Church South Yarra will perform music from the coronation of King Charles III at an upcoming concert designed to celebrate the splendour of the Anglican coronation rituals. 

Music director Michael Fulcher said he’d only been able to access official music scores the day after the coronation on 6 May, so the choir had less than a month to rehearse three centuries’ worth of music.

Mr Fulcher said the song list included music from almost every coronation since King George II’s in 1727.

He said some songs were coronation classics, like Handel’s Zadok the Priest and I Was Glad by Hubert Parry, but some were new commissions.

“There’s history there, traditional music, but new music is always written,” he said.

Mr Fulcher said the concert was not a statement of support for the monarchy but a celebration of the music of the Anglican coronation service. 

He said there was a wide range of emotional content within the music that he hoped the audience would get to share in.

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Christ Church assistant priest the Reverend Emily Fraser said the concert would be a wonderful way for people to experience the church’s holy space without necessarily having to come to worship.

She said music concerts and events helped create a sense of community in the parish.

“It reminds people churches have a life beyond Sunday worship,” she said.

Ms Fraser, a doctoral candidate who studies hymnody, said the concert would offer something beautiful for people to experience.

“You’ve got this wonderful spread of history within what is being sung, this showcase of absolutely marvellous music,” she said.

Proceeds from the concert will go to the Christ Church Music Foundation. See the Christ Church South Yarra website for more information.

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