St Francis' Choir gave its first performance on 23 October 1845 at the official opening of St Francis' Church, the first Catholic church of the infant colony and today, Melbourne's oldest building. The erection of the church, designed by Samuel Jackson, had been an ecumenical project that took six years to complete. St Francis' became the cathedral of Melbourne in 1848 and remained so until the new St Patrick's Cathedral was ready in 1869.
At the height of the Victorian era the choir was at the forefront of musical excellence in Melbourne with its own orchestra frequently combining with visiting opera companies and welcoming such famous artists as Anna Bishop, Amy Castles and Nellie Melba.
In 1961 the choir was reformed as a mixed voice group by Rev. Ernest Rayson, SSS. He was succeeded as Director in 1967 by Roger Heagney and in 1998 by Tony Way. Orchestral Masses by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Gounod, Fauré and many others remain an important aspect of the choir's work. The choir has premiered works by many Australian composers and has undertaken
two highly successful tours of
St Francis' Choir
St Francis’ Choir seeks to perpetuate the great
tradition of the choir and of St Francis’ Church in
performing and developing the heritage of church music,
from ancient plainchant to the music of our time.
In doing so, we provide for the community a musical
offering that uplifts, inspires, and enhances the liturgy
and draws people together.
Thus, through the beauty of the music, we strive to bring
people closer to God."
St Francis' Choir
welcomes new singers in all voice parts. The choir has
regular commitments and an extensive repertoire.
Therefore, some choral experience and/or musical training,
together with some sight-reading ability, are desirable.
The choir rehearses every Thursday night from 7.30pm till
10pm and on Sundays from 9.30am for the 11am Mass. There
are also occasional Saturday workshops before major
religious festivals. For an interview or to discuss
membership of the Choir, please contact: