For the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29, the Sistine Chapel Choir will be joined by the Anglican choir of New College, Oxford, reported Vatican Radio.
On June 29, the two choirs will sing the Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, presided over by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Saturday evening before the feast day at 6 p.m., both choirs will offer a concert in the Sistine Chapel for members of the Roman Curia and for the Heads of Mission of the Embassies accredited to the Holy See. They will perform works from Purcell, Tallis, Palestrina, Gibbons, and Parry.
The Sistine Chapel Choir, or the Pontifical Choir, is the oldest choral institution in the world. Composed of 20 permanent adult singers and around 30 child choristers from an associated private school with classes ranging from fourth to eighth grade, the choir normally performs at Celebrations presided at by the Pope, providing a primarily liturgical service. As such, its concert activity is directed exclusively towards evangelization and to the promotion of ecumenical dialogue.
Master of the Sistine Chapel Choir, Massimo Palombella and master of the Choir of New College Oxford, Robert Quinney, will both direct the two events.
These performances will mark the latest in an ongoing ecumenical project the Vatican choir has been engaged in since 2012. Over the last three years, the Sistine Chapel Choir has performed with the choirs of Westminster Abbey, for the same June feast day in 2012, the ThomanerChor of Leipzig in 2013 and the Orthodox Patriarchate Choir of Moscow in 2014.
To prepare for the June performances in Rome, the Sistine Chapel Choir will go to Oxford to rehearse with the Choir of New College on May 28.
Subsequently, the choir will travel to London to join the Choir of Westminster Abbey at the invitation of the Organist and Master of the Choristers, James O’Donnell to sing Anglican Choral Evensong on Saturday, May 30 at 5 p.m.
The next day, Trinity Sunday, at 6:30 p.m. the choir will give a concert at Westminster Abbey, featuring music written for papal events, celebrating the great composer of the Sistine Chapel, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
The Sistine Chapel choir has expressed that “a serious and honest mutual appreciation of both our cultures is necessary in the search for common roots.”
“This process,” it noted, “provides a solid platform for ecumenical dialogue respecting diversity and identity.”
“In singing together the common heritage of our unique praise of God, we express our willingness to walk together and anticipate in history that desired unity, which we all seek and which by the gift of God we will achieve.” (D.C.L.)