The 120+ strong choir performs at least four programmes per year, many alongside the Ulster Orchestra, including performances of Handel's Messiah every Christmas - a tradition that goes back as far as 1886. The choir performs a varied repertoire from classical choral oratorios to music from films and theatre. In May 2015, the choir gave the world première of James Whitbourn's The Seven Heavens, which was specially commissioned for the event, closing the choir’s 140th anniversary season. The Society holds an annual Come and Sing event where singers of all levels and experience can join the choir to learn and sing well-known works in a friendly environment. The choir also performs on tour, most recently in 2018 to New York for the US première of Patrick Hawes' Great War Symphony.
Founded in 2006, Belfast Philharmonic Youth Choirs programme provides musicianship classes, choral singing, and high-quality performance opportunities for children and young people aged from 7 to 22. The choirs meet weekly in term-time, learning choral music and musicianship in a programme designed using the Kodály principles of music education.
Singers are auditioned for one of three choirs: Phil Kids; Belfast Philharmonic Youth Choir; and Youth Chamber Choir. The singers also rehearse and perform with Dublin Youth Choir as the Cross Border Youth Choir. In 2018, the Cross Border Youth Choir came first in the National Youth Choir category in City of Derry International Choir Festival, and in 2019 the Phil Youth Choir placed joint first. The Youth Choirs have performed with the adult Philharmonic Choir and the Ulster Orchestra.
The Youth Choirs programme is led by Artistic Director Lynsey Callaghan, and Phil Kids is led by Assistant Director Caroline Jones.
Founded on the feast of St Cecilia in 1995, Cappella Caeciliana specialised from the start in singing great choral repertoire in its liturgical context. Since this music has largely been lost from the weekly parish worship the choir has been in great demand for its successful revivals of a lost liturgical tradition.
The choir also gives frequent concert performances around Northern Ireland. In recent years the choir has broadened the contemporary element of its repertoire, including James MacMillan, Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre. The choir has also commissioned works from Neil Martin and James MacMillan. The choir has performed regularly on BBC and has toured in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Rome and the USA. Cappella Caeciliana has recorded four CDs, the most recent released in Autumn 2014.
Minded by Music is a charitable initiative aimed at improving and maintaining the mental health and wellbeing of young people through music.
Our youth choir runs each Friday evening for all young people from Primary 6 and upwards. It provides an opportunity to relieve any stress or worry that has built up throughout the week by singing in a fun and relaxed environment.