On Sunday May 1, in Christchurch NZ at 3.00pm, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Music Centre was officially opened replacing resources severely damaged or destroyed by the recent earthquakes in the region.
The Catholic Diocese inspirationally commissioned the building, with vital support from Keith Beal (Property Manager) Father John Adams (CBS President), and Don Whelan, CBS Director of Music, who explained that the building would act as an arts hub, to help, “regenerate high quality arts and liturgical practice in schools and churches.“
The building is currently sited adjacent to St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral in Manchester Street which serves for the actual damaged CBS Cathedral, located a few blocks away in Barbadoes Street. However, it can be unhooked into suitable segments, and reconnected in its final resting place.
Mr Whelan went on to say, “Collaboration and co-operation with other groups is needed,” and he reaffirmed the Vatican Council statement, that ‘The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art.’
Earlier he had reminded the crowd that the “CBS Choir and Orchestra is totally committed to support the repair and restoration of our beautiful building [CBS Cathedral], where we intend to perpetuate our musical ministry.”
Reference was made to the wide repertoire of CBS Music and an extract from a video filmed on their 1990 visit to St Peter’s in Rome showed them singing Bach’s B Minor Mass (with an orchestra).
A stunning Te Deum concert was presented in St Mary’s Church prior to the opening ceremony. Firstly two cantors (Wally Enright and Ken Joblin) sang the traditional plainchant Te Deum, interspersed with Attaignant’s organ versets played by Don Whelan, The choir then presented Schubert’s Psalm 23, a Veni Creator Spiritus by Douglas Mews, and Rutter’s O Clap Your Hands. The CBS Orchestra, led by David Williams, joined the Choir to perform a southern hemisphere premiere of Mozart’s Te Deum – composed when he was 13 years of age – and Schubert’s lovely Mass in C Major.