A Merseyside arts festival is saving you a trip to Liverpool’s cathedrals by bringing the cathedrals to you.
Both of the city’s majestic cathedrals will be represented at the Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts later this month.
On Saturday 22 June, James Luxton, assistant director of music at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, conducts the Prescot Festival Chorus in Vivaldi’s magnificent Gloria.
The Catholic cathedral’s Anglican neighbours sing in the second half of the evening concert, when Lee Ward conducts the internationally renowned Liverpool Cathedral Choir (above right).
Accompanying them on the organ is Professor Dr Ian Tracey (left). Now chorus master to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society and ‘Organist Titulaire’ of the Anglican cathedral, he began his musical career as organist of Prescot Parish Church. He has shown his love of community music-making by being official patron of the Prescot Festival since its inception in 2005.
The setting for the concert—and for several events from 21 to 30 June—is the stunning Jacobean parish church of St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Prescot, Knowsley’s only Grade I listed building.
The following day, Sunday 23 June, Metropolitan Cathedral organist Richard Lea (right) gives a recital in the parish church, featuring pieces by Handel, Albinoni and other classical and sacred composers.
But there’s another cameo from the Anglican cathedral, when the edifice itself makes a guest appearance. It features as a location in the 1950 Ealing comedy The Magnet, being screened on Thursday 27 June at St Paul’s Church.
This whimsically charming film was shot either side of the River Mersey, in both Liverpool and the seaside resort of New Brighton. It stars a young James Fox, then aged just 10.
Then, on Sunday 30 June, Prescot Parish Church Choir will sing an anthem by Noel Rawsthorne, the organist of Liverpool Cathedral from 1955 to 1980. He was celebrated worldwide as a choral composer, and he sadly passed away earlier this year at 89.
“We are proud as a festival to have created such strong links with the music department of both cathedrals,” said founder and artistic director Dr Robert Howard.
“In 2016 we welcomed the girls choir of the Metropolitan Cathedral, and we are delighted to complement it this year with a festival debut appearance from the equally stellar Liverpool Cathedral Choir.”
The 15th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts takes place from Friday 21 to Sunday 30 June in the historic Lancashire town of Prescot, Merseyside.
Full programme information is online at www.prescotfestival.co.uk, and tickets are on sale online, via the website (booking fees apply), and at Poco Coffee (cash only) at 30 Eccleston Street, Prescot, L34 5QJ.