Norwich Cathedral hosts jubilee celebrations
From a Platinum Jubilee Concert to A Right Royal Family Day, there is lots happening at Norwich Cathedral to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
In celebration of Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne, a different event will take place every day of the four-day June bank holiday weekend, starting with A Right Royal Family Day for primary school-aged children on Thursday 2 June.
Music will take centre stage for much of the weekend with two very special Cathedral concerts. Battle of the Organs on Friday 3 June will see all three of the Cathedral’s organists take part in a free recital which will be one of the very last opportunities to hear the Cathedral’s organ in action before extensive restoration work starts on the historic instrument, meanwhile on Saturday 4 June Norwich Cathedral Chamber Choir and Norwich Baroque will be joining forces for a unique performance of Handel’s famous Coronation Anthems in a Platinum Jubilee Concert.
The celebratory weekend will draw to a close on Sunday 5 June with a Platinum Jubilee Thanksgiving Service and, earlier in the afternoon, people are being invited to enjoy a picnic in the beautiful surrounds of the Cathedral Close.
The Revd Canon Aidan Platten, the Cathedral’s Canon Precentor, said: “We hope people of all ages will join us at Norwich Cathedral over the Jubilee weekend to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s remarkable 70 years of service.
“The Cathedral Close is a wonderful place for all to enjoy a Jubilee picnic. Meanwhile our Cathedral musicians are busy rehearsing some stunning music for our concerts and special service, and there are lots of fun activities being planned for our Right Royal Family Day too.”
Canon Aidan said the festivities were also a much-needed opportunity for people to once again enjoy events together as the nation continues to emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic.
“For the majority of the nation, Her Majesty The Queen has been a constant presence and a source of stability and hope as she and her family have faced similar personal challenges to many of us with loss and sadness and also moments of great joy to celebrate.
“The Platinum Jubilee weekend is a chance for us to give thanks for all that The Queen has given through her life of service and we might also be encouraged in these warmer days to gather together again and enjoy each other’s company at jubilee picnics and street parties as we emerge from the pandemic.
“We are certainly looking forward to welcoming people to the Cathedral and the Cathedral Close for our celebratory events.”
The Queen has visited Norwich Cathedral three times during her reign. Most recently The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited in May 2010 to officially open the new Refectory and Hostry. Her Majesty also visited the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday in April 1996 as part of the Cathedral’s 900th anniversary celebrations and in April 1975 for the opening of the Cathedral’s then visitor centre.
New statues of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were also installed in the Cloister in 2018 to mark the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.
Norwich Cathedral’s Platinum Jubilee events at a glance
Thursday 2 June: A Right Royal Family Day, 10am-12.15pm or 12.30pm-3pm
A Right Royal Celebration will be the theme of the Cathedral’s special Jubilee family day and there will be lots of royal-inspired activities for primary school-aged children to enjoy.
There are two workshop programmes to choose from.
Choice A: Games, Story, Craft includes jubilee-themed games, learning about the life of Queen Elizabeth and making a commemorative plate, and enjoying a range of royal-themed crafts.
Choice B: Singing, Heraldry, Craft includes learning a celebration song and making a percussion instrument, designing your own heraldry, and enjoying a range of royal-themed crafts.
Tickets must be booked in advance and cost £3.50 per child for either the morning (10am-12.15pm) or afternoon (12.30pm-3pm) session. To book, visit cathedral.org.uk
Friday 3 June, 2pm: Battle of the Organs
Join the Cathedral’s three organists for an epic final recital before the Cathedral’s historic pipe organ is taken out of service for a 15-month restoration project.
David Dunnett (Cathedral Organist), Ashley Grote (Master of Music) and George Inscoe (Assistant Organist) will present a programme of some of the best-loved organ works including Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor and Widor’s Toccata in F, played on three organs at once!
For one day only, the Cathedral’s 105-stop pipe organ will be played alongside both the digital organ temporarily replacing it and the Cathedral’s one-manual chamber organ, in a performance that promises to be entirely unique.
Admission is free and no tickets are required.
The restoration of the Cathedral’s pipe organ – which begins on Monday 6 June - will see most of its 6,655 pipes transported to organ builders Harrison and Harrison of Durham for restoration work, before being reinstalled at the Cathedral and re-voiced next year, ready to be heard again by September 2023. This huge project is the instrument’s first complete restoration since it was rebuilt in 1942, following a fire which partially destroyed the instrument in April 1938. The latest restoration project is being funded by the money raised from the They Can Laugh And Sing Music Appeal.
Saturday 4 June, 7.30pm: Platinum Jubilee Concert
Norwich Cathedral Chamber Choir, Norwich Baroque and a cast of distinguished soloists are joining forces to present a spectacular performance of royal music by Handel in celebration of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The programme will feature Handel’s four great Coronation Anthems including the famous ‘Zadok the Priest’ which has been performed at every British Coronation since 1727.
There will also be a rare opportunity to hear a complete performance of Handel’s thrilling ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’, composed by Handel in 1749 for King George II to accompany fireworks in Green Park.
Completing the musical programme are the much-loved works ‘Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (Eternal source of light divine)’ and ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.’
The Platinum Jubilee Concert is being conducted by the Cathedral’s Master of Music Ashley Grote and features Katy Crompton (Soprano), Hugh Cutting (Counter Tenor) and Edward Grint (Bass).
Tickets £15-30 (£5 for under 18s in the side aisles) plus booking fee.
To book, visit cathedral.org.uk or call the TicketSource box office on 0333 666 3366.
Sunday 5 June, 12.30pm-3.30pm: Jubilee Picnic
A Jubilee street party will be taking place in the Cathedral Close and all are welcome to bring a picnic and join in with the festivities!
For people looking to enjoy an extra special picnic, Jarrold, which runs the Cathedral’s Refectory, is taking bookings ahead of the Jubilee weekend for Jarrold Jubilee Celebration Hampers. Featuring sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream, and traditional Victoria sponge, all freshly prepared by Jarrold chefs, the hampers will cater for up to six people and cost £60. The hampers can be booked in person at Customer Services in the Jarrold Department Store in London Street, in Norwich, or by calling 01603 660661.
The Cathedral Shop also has a unique selection of chocolate treats to choose from along with some special souvenirs to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Sunday 5 June, 3.30pm: Platinum Jubilee Thanksgiving Service
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham Usher, will preach at this special service giving thanks for the 70-year reign of Her Majesty The Queen.
Norwich Cathedral Choir, accompanied by the Cathedral organ and Norwich Cathedral Brass, will sing music taken from the Coronation service, including Parry’s I was glad, Vaughan William’s Old Hundredth and Walton’s Coronation Te Deum.
All are welcome at the service and no tickets are required.
Picture above by Bill Smith