By Matthew Lau
St Mary’s Cathedral Perth held a special concert last Sunday, garnering proceeds for Notre Dame Paris as an act of solidarity for its French cathedral counterpart.
A sublime evening showcase of glorious chant, Renaissance polyphony, and organ music echoed through St Mary’s on 28 April with a performance titled Resurrexit.
More than 120 people attended the benefit concert in aid of the reconstruction of the iconic Parisian church that went up in flames on 15 April.
Director of Music Jacinta Jakovcevic led the music program, performing alongside the St Mary’s Cathedral Choir, organists John Beaverstock and Pia Schelfhout, and featured sopranos Catherine Campbell and Emma Oorschot.
Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez opened the concert with a few words, explaining how he gladly supported Ms Jakovcevic’s kind initiative to donate the evening’s ticket sales to Notre Dame.
Fr Fernandez repeated the words of Pope Francis, who described Notre Dame as “the architectural jewel of a collective memory”.
Funds from the Perth show will be added to donations that began immediately pouring in from around the world, boosted by large contributions from billionaires.
“We may not be able to match the contributions of French billionaires, but this concert is an expression of fraternity; and a claim on Notre Dame; she does not belong to a select few, but to us all,” he stated.
Upon hearing the news of the devastation in Paris, Ms Jakovcevic’s thoughts immediately turned to the impending Holy Week ceremonies.
“I was very saddened to think that this year Notre Dame wouldn’t have those celebrations so rich with spiritual meaning – it would be empty this time,” she told The eRecord.
“Holy Week celebrations carry so much meaning and are so spiritually enriching – our fellow musicians would also, of course, be affected.”
Two Notre Dame Cathedral musicians – organist Johann Vexo and tenor Damien Rivière – performed at St Mary’s Cathedral earlier this year on 10 February.
“I’ve gotten to know both of them so I feel I had a bit of a closer connection to the devastation at Notre Dame,” Ms Jakovcevic expressed.
“In fact, they met some of our Cathedral musicians during their visit, so I think a number of us felt that we would like to do something to show our support.
“When I mentioned to our musicians that we would make this concert a fundraiser for restoration efforts, they were fully in support and we managed to pull together this programme quickly despite the busyness of our Holy Week.”
The unity is an expression of how special Notre Dame is, she said, and how deeply the Perth musicians felt about what had happened to a fellow Cathedral.
“As we strive to deepen our own faith through our music at St Mary’s, it was almost like their approach was like an expression of their own faith.
“I think the concert was well-received, there was lots of positive feedback. Parts of it were quite reflective and the atmosphere was very quiet and still – really quite prayerful,” Ms Jakovcevic concluded.
For more information about the St Mary’s Cathedral concert series for 2019, contact the Director of Music at: firstname.lastname@example.org