CAFOD hits the high notes with a musical fundraiser in Durham

Irish soprano, Virginia Kerr, is to perform in Durham to raise funds for Catholic aid agency CAFOD. And more than 150 tickets have already been sold!

The world famous singer – a personal friend of St Godric’s parish priest Fr Colm Hayden – has offered her services free of charge to raise money for CAFOD’s Connect2 Brazil project, which supports homeless people in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and around 100 tickets have already been sold.

Ms Kerr will be performing at St Godric’s Church, Castle Chare, Durham City, on Saturday, November 11, accompanied by pianist Paul McKenna. The concert, called Music for an Autumn Evening, begins at 7.30pm and also features St Leonard’s School’s Chamber Choir.

Fr Colm was delighted to bring his friend to Durham. He said: “Virginia is a fine singer and we are proud and thrilled that she’s offered her time for such a good cause. We’re hoping for good support from all our Catholic parishes in Durham, but it would be great to get word out to other music-lovers in the Durham area. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Tickets for Music for an Autumn Evening cost £30, with concessions of £25 for OAP’s and students, including a glass of wine and a finger buffet from Finbarr’s Restaurant of Waddington Street, Flass Vale, Durham. They are available from St Joseph’s Parish Office, Mill Lane, Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 2JG, on 0191 384 3810 or email the secretary at

Ms Kerr has kindly offered to sign any of her CDs people buy on the night and to donate £3 from each sale to CAFOD.

CAFOD’s Diocesan Manager, Anne-Marie Hanlon, said: “We’ve just moved our office from Ushaw College to Durham City and we’ve been made to feel very welcome by the people here. This evening will be another wonderful way to be more involved in the life of the city. I also know it will be much appreciated by the people in Brazil as we seek to deepen the connections between us. They have a great love for music – although of a different kind – but I know they’d appreciate the efforts of all involved.”

A brief auction and raffle will take place on the night. The auction features a fantastic top prize of dinner for eight cooked in your own home, courtesy of Barry O’Leary and Tom Jackson from Finbarr’s Restaurant. Cash or cheque will be accepted for bids on the night and sealed bids will be accepted via the parish secretary at St Joseph’s Parish Office.

Raffle prizes include vouchers for Toni & Guys, Fat Buddah Restaurant, Rayna Hairdressing and Beauty and The Garden House Inn, as well as a bread maker and a bottle of champagne.

Virginia Kerr is a prominent Irish soprano who has sung with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, The Hallé and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. Her operatic and concert performances have also taken her to Far East, Russia and North and South America.

At the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden she has sung the roles of Jennifer in The Midsummer Marriage, Frau in Erwartung, Ortlinde in Die Walküre, Guinivere in Gawain. She has also sung with Opera Theatre Company, Opera Ireland, Leipzig Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North, Opera de Nantes and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. She has also sung with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. Kerr is a keen advocate of contemporary music. Most recently, Kerr sang the role of Antonia Frieth in the European & Italian premiere of Michael Berkeley’s opera ‘For You.’ The libretto was written by the British author Ian McEwan.

Virginia Kerr is currently a member of the Vocal Faculty of the Royal Irish Academy of Music and is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Opera Theatre Company.

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