Throughout the pandemic, Christ Church Cathedral has been able to safely host a variety of musical performances, both public and private, under its COVID-19 operational plan.
After months of small groups of singers and no corporate singing, it is a blessing to hear voices lifted high in worship once again. Under the current Yellow Phase of the operational plan, members of the Cathedral congregation may now also sing during worship, wearing masks and maintaining two metres of physical distance between ‘bubbles. The choir and band continue to lead music, also maintaining appropriate distancing between performers. During Easter worship, an expanded choir was accommodated by using the sanctuary to spread out. The choir met in advance to rehearse and work out the 'choreography' and seating chart required to ensure physical distancing.
A variety of Fredericton musicians have also been welcomed into the Cathedral throughout the pandemic, with safety precautions such as attendance limits, sanitization, physical distancing, and masks for attendees (under public health guidelines, performers may remove their masks while singing if they are able to maintain appropriate distancing).
Public concerts at the Cathedral have included: the Elm City String Quartet; the Fredericton Symphony Orchestra and Atlantic Sinfonia; a concert featuring soprano Sally Dibblee, baritone Luke Noftall, and organist Thomas Gonder; as well as a solo organ concert by Cathedral Director of Music Thomas Gonder. Each of these concerts has been well attended by members of the community, who shared appreciation for the opportunity to listen to live music during this distressing time. We were honoured by the presence of Lieutenant Governor Brenda Murphy and her spouse, Her Honour Linda Boyle, at the Elm City String Quartet performance.
Christ Church Cathedral has wonderful acoustics which have been appreciated by several Music Festival participants, who were able to film their performances in the Cathedral with the assistance of their voice teacher, critically-acclaimed soprano Sally Dibblee.
The Fredericton Ladies Community Choir has combined technology and live performance in their practices. The choir been practicing online using Zoom during the pandemic, but this spring the choir, under the direction of Sally Dibblee, began livestreaming its rehearsals from the Cathedral. With the assistance of Cathedral audio/visual expert Peter Jacobs, physically distanced duos and trios were filmed to help the at-home singers follow along with their vocal parts. Choir rehearsals sometimes included costumes, such as a theme of ‘dress as your favourite choir song’, and a formal evening.
The Cathedral welcomes members of the community at worship and throughout the week. Inquiries about rentals can be directed to the Cathedral Office by email or phone (506) 450-8500.