Choir Marija Bambina

The Origin

Since the early seventies organist Agostino Attard used to gather  a number of men to sing during the Sunday Gregorian Mass held in the Basilica . It was in 1972 that Joseph Baron and Charlie Mercieca together with this group of men decided to form a  choir.  The  new Choir committee named it “Kor Maria Bambina”. The choir began to increase in number and  children who used to attend for the evening mass joined in and were helped in the art of singing by  Fr. Paul Schembri. After a while Sr Speranza, who  was also  a piano teacher, took over the director’s role of the newly set up choir. When organist Attard passed away, Mro Alfred Callus took over  his place.

Along the Years

In 1977, for the occasion of the first solemn Mass of Fr Anton Gouder, the choir sang for the first time accompanied by the orchestra, under the direction of Mro Callus. On the same day the choir wore a smart uniform for the first time. When Archpriest Sladden died,  Fr. Vincent Cachia was appointed as the new Archpriest. He immediately took the first steps to enhance the level of this choir. Young organists were given specialised training by Fr. Albert Borg, while Mr Joe Huber started giving voice lessons to all choir members. The members of the choir were divided into four categories; sopranos, mezzo sopranos, tenors and lower. Thereafter, the choir also began to offer its services in other parishes. A central committee and a sub-committee were  set up  to organise social activities. A bimonthly magazine named “Il-Vuci” ("The Voice") started to be published. The idea of participation in the Choirs’ Festival cropped up and in fact the choir participated in this festival on quite a number of occasions.  But the greatest achievements of the choir occurred in 1996 during the 75th Anniversary celebrations commemorating the Coronation of the statue of Maria Bambina. During the whole Novena of the Nativity the choir  sang with the orchestra under the direction of Maestro Callus. The special anniversary celebrations were held on the 4th of September at the marina, and the choir sang with the orchestra under the direction of Mro Fr John Galea during the solemn Mass con-celebrated by Archbishop Mons. Joseph Mercieca.  The  Choir sang  for ten consecutive years during the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at  Zurrieq. The choir participated in the choirs’ festival held at St Aloysius College in Birkirkara and  placed first. Amongst other activities the  choir members  joined the mass choir during the Holy Masses celebrated  by Pope St. John Paul II, during  his two visits in Malta.

Choir Services Today

The parish choir gives its service during all the main religious functions held at the Basilica, including the parish feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, Feast of Christ the Redeemer, Easter and   Christmas ceremonies and all other minor feasts. Joining a choir is an opportunity to all those who cherish singing. God showered us with many talents, so it is appropriate to use them first and foremost to praise Him. Apart from the singing duties the group organises regular outings and other social activities.

The choir members meet every Friday at 7pm for rehearsals at the Basilica. We would like to appeal to all music lovers or those who would like to participate in  singing to contact the Choir directress Ms Sandra Inguanez or the Basilica Archpriest to be given information re  enrolment  in the choir family.

Members of the Choir Committee: The Rev. Canon Robin Camilleri Archpriest, Fr Aurelio Mule’ Stagno SDB, Mro Alfred Callus (Maestro), Sandra Inguanez (Director), Romina Powell (Secretary), Mario Caruana, Dorothy Caruana, Margaret Chetcuti, Jane Caruana, Joan Gabriele.

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