Conservatoire head talks his role in Papal visit


Professor David Saint has been talking about how he directed 140 voices from choirs across the country during Pope Benedict’s visit to Birmingham.

David, who is the Acting Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire, was responsible for leading a mass choir which consisted of students and graduates from the Conservatoire, singers from St Chad’s Cathedral Choir, Oxford Oratory and London and Reading Oratory Schools.

The Pope visited the city’s Cofton Park for the Beatification Mass of Cardinal John Henry Newman. More than 50,000 people attended the event which is the next step for the Cardinal to become a saint. In addition to the Conservatoire’s choral contribution, five Conservatoire musicians formed the brass and percussion ensemble on stage at the Park as part of the live event that was broadcast to approximately one billion viewers.

Professor Saint said: “It was a marvellous experience and a feat of organisation. I was very proud that our students got the opportunity to play a part in it.

“Myself, the choir and the musicians were on a separate stage to the Pope but I could see him clearly. It was quite a moving event which made singing just that little bit more difficult than normal.”

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