Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta
  1. About Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
  2. Music Personnel
  3. Choirs at St. Patrick’s
  4. The Organs
  5. Organ Scholarship
  6. History of Music at St.Patrick’s 1836 –
  7. Wedding Music at St. Patrick’s
  8. Concerts, Recitals & Past Events
  9. Music list - February 2013

About Music at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Music in the life of St. Patrick’s Cathedral began in 1839 in the early colony.  From those early colonial days, Parramatta has flourished into a busy metropolitan centre in the western region of Sydney.  The cathedral church too, has also expanded to serve the increasing numbers of people in our busy city, both physically in the new cathedral and in the shedule of liturgical services.

The music ministry of the cathedral continues to play an important role in serving the busier-than-ever round of diocesan and parish liturgies which take place throughout the year.  Choirs (including St.Patrick’s Parish choir, the cathedral schola, and the Tongan Choir) and cantors sing at 4 of the 5 Sunday Masses, as well as Weddings, funerals, and other occasions.

The program of liturgical music in the cathedral covers both traditional and contemporary works of the sacred music repertoire.   In carrying out the desire of the liturgical documents on sacred music in the liturgy, priority is given to singing the liturgy itself.  The Ordinary of the Mass, responsorial psalm and Gospel Acclamation are sung at all Sunday Masses and on solemnities and feasts by the assembly and/or choir or schola.   At Solemn Masses (11.00am Sunday & solemnities), importance is placed on singing of the ministerial chants as well.   The chants of the priests and deacons, are answered by the sung responses of the people.   In general an entrance hymn and communion hymn are sung for the processions.  On solemnities, a chant introit may also be sung after the entrance hymn, during the incensation of the altar.   The Preparation of Gifts is usually accompanied by a choir motet or organ music.  At the conclusion of each liturgy, an organ postlude accompanies the departure of the ministers and people.

The cathedral is blessed to have a committed team of talented musicians who serve its liturgical life.  And the magnificent 1898 Norman & Beard which graces the new cathedral can not go unmentioned, as the principal instrument accompanying the cathedral liturgies.

I hope you enjoy perusing this site containing details of the musical life of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The Music Department

Director of Music & Principal Organist -

Bernard Kirkpatrick B.Mus(Syd), B.Ec(Syd), A.mus.A

Bernard Kirkpatrick received his early music training in Tasmania from the Sisters of Mercy, and subsequently the Marist Fathers.   In 1984 he moved to Sydney and commenced organ studies with Sydney City Organist, Robert Ampt, later studying organ improvisation with M. Naji Hakim (then Organist Titulaire de Basilique Sacre Coeur) in Paris.  Whilst studying for the Bachelor of Music degree at The University of Sydney,  he was University Organ Scholar, and Director of Chapel Music at St. John's College.



Before taking up the position of Director of Music at Australia’s newest cathedral church of St. Patrick in Parramatta,  Bernard was Director of Music at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Paddington in Sydney, (1995 -2006). He has previously held the post of Organist and Choirmaster at St. Patrick's Church Hill (1984-88) and from 1988 - 1999 was the Assistant Organist at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, where he also established the St. Mary's Singers, and directed the Cathedral choir on occasion.

Bernard’s interest in liturgical music includes developing ways of incorporating traditional sacred music styles e.g chant & choral polyphony with the contemporary needs of liturgical practice through a synthesis of form, musical language and instrumentation.

He has composed numerous liturgical works including 2 festival Mass settings,  Music for Holy Week and the Easter Season,  musical arrangements of the Prayer of St. Francis, and the Prayer of St. Ignatius, hymns and psalms.   A number of his liturgical compositions have been published by the U.S liturgical music publisher, CanticaNOVA.

Bernard has also led workshops for the Royal School of Church Music (Australia) and the Australian Catholic University, and is a member of the Music Advisory Committee of the Archdiocese of Sydney.   In 2004 he was appointed a Music Consultant to the National Liturgical Commission of the Australia Catholic Bishops' Conference and is Executive Secretary for a new liturgical music resource being prepared by the ACBC.

In 2006, Bernard was appointed Director of Music at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, Homebush, and Musical Director of the Schola at Campion College.

During the World Youth Day celebration in Sydney in 2008, he was invited to be the Organist for the Opening Mass at Barangaroo, and the Closing Mass at Randwick celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.


Assistant Director of Music -

Position vacant


Organ Scholar –

Tim Coorey


Assistant Organist -

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor’s love of music began in early childhood and grew over many years as a hobby. He studied and became proficient in both piano and classical organ. After many years of amateur performing, he decided to leave his successful career in engineering to dedicate his life entirely to music and performing.

Both as amateur and later professional, Michael has always sought to bring quality to his Church-music playing. Disappointed at the standard of music and playing he so often encountered in the Catholic Church of the post-Vatican II era, and with often only meagre inadequate instruments at his disposal, he has wanted to help inspire excellence in Church music.

His lifetime of church playing has taken him through various parishes to his present roles of organist at the Our Lady of Mercy Shrine near Berrima, and assistant organist at St Patrick’s Cathedral Parramatta. He frequently plays in churches far and wide for weddings, funerals, and other occasions.

Besides his involvement in Church music, Michael loves performing in public, and has performed in organ recitals at St Andrews Cathedral, Christ Church St. Lawrence and St James in Sydney, as well as at Sydney University and at the Shrine at Berrima. He is also a proficient pianist, and has given recitals, provided piano accompaniment for other performers, and provided entertainment at clubs and other similar venues. Michael has also been involved in teaching and lecturing in piano, and music theory and history. His accomplishments include a Bachelor of Music and A.Mus.A. and L.Mus.A. diplomas.