This year and for the first time, seventeen choristers of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork joined a five-day summer camp during the first week of August. The camp was the idea of the Director of Music, Peter Stobart:
I was aware that the children had missed out on so much during the last eighteen months. In addition, the holiday period can be a long time with very little to keep them occupied. A summer camp seemed like the right thing for us to be offering.
The camp was held outdoors in the grounds of the cathedral and in line with current regulations. A tent covering meant that the summer showers did not dampen enthusiasm.
In addition to plenty of singing, the choristers took part in a treasure hunt, following clues which were based around the architecture of the building and the many distinctive features of the grounds. They also attempted to recreate some of the decorative floor mosaics by painting pebbles and embedding them into a clay base.
We were on site for almost five hours every day and a varied programme of activities was always going to be required. During the many sessions which we held on Zoom during the lockdown, I began to develop their interest and knowledge of the cathedral building by showing them pictures of the artwork and architecture. The treasure hunt and mosaic making were an extension of this learning and gave their regular singing environment a wider context.
The choristers also furthered their understanding of psalm singing by writing their own psalm words describing the ten plagues of Egypt. They also composed and sang their own psalm chants and worked out how to put the words and music together.
They camp came to a close with a celebratory pizza for lunch on Friday and there have already been requests from parents for a camp next summer.
You can watch a video of the choristers talking about the camp here.