St John's Cathedral
Although only consecrated in 2009, St John's Cathedral is the second oldest Anglican church in Brisbane. It was designed by John Loughborough Pearson, who is also known for his designing of Truro Cathedral. He was also a popular choice for repairs of older cathedrals, including at Lincoln, Chichester, Peterborough, Bristol and Exeter Cathedral, as well as St George's Chapel, Winsor and Westminster Abbey. St John's is the only Cathedral in the southern hemisphere with a stone vaulted ceiling, creating what is considered the best sacred music acoustic in the country - with a 7 second reverberation!
The Cathedral is home to several choirs, including the Cathedral Choir (with boy trebles), the Cathedral Singers (adult choir), Girl's Choir, the Brisbane Chamber Choir, and the Johannine Voices. We are excited that our opening liturgy will feature the Cathedral Choir, giving participants a chance to hear how this place puts sacred music into context.
Image Credit: Organ Historic Trust of Australia
Just as stunning as the acoustic and the choral programme is the Cathedral Organ, which is the largest cathedral organ in the country. Originally by Norman and Beard, the organ was installed in 1910 by local firm B.B. Whitehouse & Co. In 1972, the organ was rebuilt and significantly enlarged by Hill, Norman and Beard under the direction of the Cathedral's then Director of Music, Dr Robert Boughen OBE. The organ now has 82 stops across 6 divisions, and four manuals.
Brisbane City Hall
Whilst Brisbane's first Town Hall was built in 1864, in less than 20 years it was considered too small for council's chambers and the other events now needing to be held. However, Brisbane was running out of suitable sites close to the city. Essentially Brisbane had two alternatives - construct it in Fortitude Valley, away from what was becoming the city centre, or construct it on some swamp land that the council still owned in the centre of town. The decision to use the latter option was made by Charles Moffat Jenkinson, the mayor of Brisbane in 1914, when he authorised the sale of the Fortitude Valley location to the Catholic Church who had plans for the biggest Cathedral in the Southern Hemisphere, which sadly never came into fruition.
Opened in 1930, the style resembles the Italian Renaissance, being very symmetrical and formal. The main auditorium is based on the Pantheon, Rome, and has a large dome-shaped ceiling. However, by 2010 the building had succumbed to structural issues as a result of its location, and was closed in 2010 for complete restoration.
Image Credit: Simon Pierce
The restoration included a complete refurbishment of the 5 manual Father Willis Pipe Organ by Brisbane firm Pierce Pipe Organs.
The final concert for QueenslandinSpires will be held in City Hall on Saturday, 1 July 2023. Don't miss out your chance to join this choral spectacular!
St Luke's, Toowoomba
Situated on Australia's great dividing range, Toowoomba's population is approximately 140,000, making it Australia's second most populous inland city after the Nation's Capital, Canberra. Toowoomba is known as "The Garden City" and holds the Carnival of Flowers every year in September. The arts has always been popular in Toowoomba, and the city has Australia's largest regional Theatre, the Empire Theatre, which seats almost 1,600. The arts is such a crucial part of Toowoomba's culture that, when the original Empire burnt down in February 1933, Toowoomba had rebuilt and opened a new theatre in the same location by November the same year.
St Luke's Toowoomba is a fine bluestone Gothic Revival church in the Toowoomba CBD. It was designed by John Hingeston Buckeridge, who is known for designing over 60 churches in Queensland. Interestingly, Buckeridge studied architecture under John Loughborough Pearson, who was the architect behind St John's Cathedral.
The Organ was originally built by Norman and Beard in 1907, and shipped by steamer to Australia in the same year. It was installed by Brisbane firm B.B Whitehouse and Co., and was rebuilt in 1995 by Pierce Pipe Organs. Many consider the St Luke's Organ one of the finest two manual instruments in the country.