On May 6, the world will be watching the Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. As part of the liturgical program, there is a special participation of the girl choristers from the Chapel Choir of Methodist College Belfast, in Northern Ireland. Some months ago, Ruth McCartney, the Director of Music at Methody (as the College is often know), received a phone call from Andrew Nethsingha, Westminster Abbey’s director of music and principal conductor of the Abbey Choir. He told her that Methody been invited to provide girl choristers, along with girls from Truro Cathedral Choir, to sing with the choirs of Westminster Abbey and HM Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace at the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and The Queen Consort. This is the first time that girls have sung at a Coronation.
When the news was first announced, Mrs Jenny Lendrum, The Principal said, “We are delighted that Methodist College pupils have been chosen to sing. It is such a privilege for girls from our Chapel Choir to join the choirs of Westminster Abbey and HM Chapel Royal. It will be an amazing experience for them and a memory they will have for life. We look forward to hearing all about the preparations, listening to their rehearsals and seeing them perform on Saturday 6th May in Westminster Abbey.” Ruth McCartney, Director of Music said, “We feel very honoured to be chosen to participate in this historic occasion. To perform in Westminster Abbey at the Coronation is a tremendous opportunity and something our singers will never forget. An audition process will now begin. The girls will be working very hard to make every note secure and it is an honour to be able to support them throughout this once in a lifetime experience. They will be fine ambassadors for Methody and for Northern Ireland.”
The auditions happened and now the girl choristers will sing in the Coronation. They have been rehearsing before school, during lunchtime and after school – in fact at every opportunity. They have worked hard to balance the volume of preparation alongside their preparation of for public examinations. After a few days of rehearsals in London just after Easter, they have been back staying in London for over a week. Mrs Jenny Lendrum, the Principal of Methody, who attended the Joint IAMSCU-MSN “Transforming Lives” conference in Bristol in April 2023, made a trip to visit them rehearsing in Westminster Abbey earlier in May. She was delighted to be able to be there for some of the preparations and to catch up with Ruth McCartney, and the other staff who are with them – Lynda Rolston and Graeme McCullough. Mrs. Lendrum said that the girls are enjoying the rehearsals and soaking up the atmosphere whilst enjoying the London sights. They are having an amazing, once in a lifetime, experience and the music will be outstanding.
The global network of Methodist schools, colleges, seminaries, and universities is immensely proud of the girls and the Music Department of the Methodist College Belfast. For more details, please follow the hashtags #greatbychoice #mcb #methody #Coronation or contact The Revd. Dr Janet Unsworth, Chair of Governors of the Methodist College Belfast, at email@example.com.