A CHOIR was given a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to sing at The Vatican.
St Austin’s Choir were invited to sing at what is regarded as one of the most holy Catholic sites in the world.
The 25-strong choir sang music by Palestrina, Byrd, Tallis and Viadana for the Vigil Mass at St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.
Patrick Ganley, director of music for the choir, said: “It went very well, and it was quite emotional.
“It is quite unusual for a church choir to be invited to sing for Mass, usually it is only cathedral choirs that are asked.
“It was a once in a lifetime experience.”
St Peter’s Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world.
It is a renowned work of Renaissance architecture and is famous as a place of pilgrimage for Catholics around the globe.
Mr Ganley arranged the visit to The Vatican after he was inspired on a visit to Rome.
He said: “I wrote to the people at St Peter’s Basilica and asked if we could come and do it.
“And with help from the priests in Rome it was arranged.”
As part of their tour, the choir also presented a recital in All Saints, Rome, which included organ solos from John Cuttell and Daniel Justin along with songs from Lorraine Mawbey and Ann Hargrave.
And the choir also gave a short recital in one of Rome’s oldest churches, Pantheon which was built in 125AD.