E. Carl Freeman Concert Series at River Road Church
Monday, August 28, 2017
7:00 p.m., Sanctuary
The Washington National Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, founded in 1909 and the Choir of Men and Girls, founded in 1997 are currently among few cathedral choirs in the United States with an affiliated school, in the English tradition. The boys singing treble are ages 9-14 and attend St. Albans School for boys; and the girl trebles, ages 12-18, attend National Cathedral School for girls. The Men of the choir are professional musicians from the greater Washington/Baltimore area and sing countertenor, tenor, and bass.
Under the direction of Canon Michael McCarthy, the choirs share responsibilities to provide liturgical support for Cathedral services including daily weekday evensongs and Sunday services. They have been heard in radio broadcasts for PRI and have participated in televised Cathedral services and those of national and ecumenical importance such as the memorial service for Princess Diana, the presidential inaugural prayer services, state funerals, the 9/11 prayer service, prayer service for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and, more recently, the Funeral service of Astronaut Neil Armstrong, and the Memorial service for Nelson Mandela.
The choirs attend a week-long choir camp at nearby Roslyn Conference and Retreat Center to prepare for the upcoming year. As part of their preparation, they will sing at our church.
Michael McCarthy, Director
Michael McCarthy is highly regarded as one the leading choral conductors of today. A native of the UK, Michael has worked with numerous professional choirs including the Sixteen, the Cardinalls Musick and the Gabrieli Consort. In addition to singing with the Monteverdi Choir, McCarthy also served as Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s assistant with the choir. Michael was the founder and director of the London [England] Oratory School Schola. Founded in 1996, the Schola quickly became one of London’s premier boys’ concert choirs, performing regularly on the London concert platform and in the studio for both the recording and film industries. Michael directed the Schola in recordings for films including Sleepy Hollow, The Lord of the Rings cycle, and Harry Potter.
In 2003 he moved to Washington DC to take up the position of Director of Music at Washington National Cathedral. In Washington, Michael is charged with overseeing the Cathedral’s expanding music program, which include four choirs, two of which are a boys choir and a girls choir. In addition to providing music for the daily round of choral liturgies, Michael has overseen a number of significant national services at the Cathedral including the funerals of Presidents Reagan and Ford and the Inaugural Prayer Service which takes place at the Cathedral the day following a Presidential Inauguration.
In 2010, Michael established a professional concert ensemble, Cathedra. In a handful of years it has achieved high acclaim, not least for its “beautiful, blended sound” (The Washington Post). Specializing in music of both the Renaissance and Baroque and a champion of the modern-day composer, Cathedra is a highly skilled ensemble of professional singers and instrumentalists, dedicated to bringing the highest form of musical expression to music from across the ages.