The world-renowned London Oratory School “Schola” choir will be visiting Krakow next week to perform music for the Wielki Post (“Great Fast”), the 40-day period of penance and reflection leading up to Easter.
The first concert, which includes works by Elgar and Schubert, takes place Feb. 11 in the Basilica of Bozego Ciala in Kazimierz. The second, which includes works my Mozart and Bach, will be held Feb. 12 in the Basilica of the Mariacki Church in Rynek Glowny. Both concerts start at 19:00 and entrance is free.
The “Schola” was established in London in 1996, but continues a tradition leading back to the 16th Century, when the first oratory choir was founded in Rome by Saint Philip Romolo Neri. Becoming a member of the choir, offers Catholic boys the unique opportunity to receive a traditional choral education within the State education system.
Boys wishing to join the Oratory School are auditioned at the age of 6. Those who are selected by the panel receive a traditional Grammar School education that includes compulsory Latin lessons and tuition on a musical instrument. Of the 80 or so boys who attend the Junior House at one time, only 20 or 30 will be chosen as choristers. They rehearse every morning at 08:00 and sing evening mass every Saturday in the Brompton Oratory in the fashionable London district of Knightsbridge. They also sing for major Catholic festivals all over the world.
Although the majority of their huge repertoire is naturally liturgical, they are most famous for their forays into the world of film and popular entertainment. Recent credits include appearances on the soundtracks of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings film cycles, a tribute to the late Pope John Paul II featuring Brazilian rhythms and electronica and a project with Icelandic pop diva, Bjork.