Grace Church Cathedral Choir performs world premiere of Richard Shephard piece

Grace Church Cathedral, Charleston, South Carolina
Posted Aug 17, 2023

Hand-written interior page of “A Sea Prayer” by Richard Shephard.

On Sunday, August 13, 2023, the St. Gregory Choir performed the world premiere of “A Sea Prayer,” a piece by renowned composer, Richard Shephard. It was written as a “thank you” to Grace parishioners Mary and Bob Johnstone. The Reverend Mary Johnstone explains the history of the piece here:

“Bob and I first heard Richard Shephard’s music when visiting Salisbury Cathedral. We sneaked into the nave and sat down during a funeral. At that moment, the boys’ choir was performing “Never Weather Beaten Sail.” What a beautiful and moving anthem! I ordered a copy when we got home and asked Trinity Choir to sing it. Then, in 1998, we commissioned Shephard to write an anthem to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Trinity Church, Newport, RI (1698-1998). He came to Newport to find a poem to set to music. We had a wonderful sail in Newport harbor and dinner by the sea. He loved his stay, and we became friends and visited him in York Minster, where he was choirmaster and composer-in-residence. Today’s piece of music was sent to us as a “thank you,” and I have been saving it. I finally showed it to Dean Michael+, saying, “I would love to hear this.” Collaborating with Canon Nicholas and the St. Gregory Choir, we will discover its special Shephard sound!” – The Reverend Mary Johnstone

The hand-written title page of “A Sea Prayer” by Richard Shephard.

You can watch the premiere at this link: