Update to music at Chelmsford Cathedral

A message from the interim Dean, the Very Revd Paul Kennington:

"These are challenging times in Cathedral music, and not just in Chelmsford. There has, particularly since Covid, been a serious difficulty in recruiting and retaining child choristers - girls as well as boys - and this needs to be addressed. I'd like to share our plans with you in this letter. 

From next term we welcome back our boy and girl choristers. We will also have two Choral Scholars and we are looking forward to the continuing services of the Gentlemen of the Choir who have given so much of their time over many years, in some cases decades. Alongside them, we will be employing eight adult singers - two each of Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass.  The employment of these eight singers will ensure that there is aways a complete choir at every choral service. This will be The Cathedral Choir, and it will sing Evensong on Thursdays and Fridays, and Choral Eucharist and Evensong on Sundays.

In addition, and as part of recruiting children for The Cathedral Choir, we're excited to launch a new choir for boys and girls aged 7-14 called The Cathedral Young Singers.  They will not be auditioned; they will meet to rehearse after school on Tuesdays and, to begin with, sing just a simple Communion Motet at the 9.30am Sunday service. It is hoped that, in time, some of these children will want, and be able, to move to the greater musical challenges and time commitment of The Cathedral Choir.

The Occasional Singers will still be used during school holidays and on other occasions, as before. Sometimes the three choirs will sing in combination.  With all the choirs, the emphasis will be on quality and commitment.

It should be noted that these arrangements are at least partly a work in progress; they are not necessarily permanent. They could be permanent, but they could be changed if and when it is considered desirable.

You will also know that James, our Organist and Master of the Choristers, will be leaving us in the autumn. Our new Assistant Organist and our new Organ Scholar will both be in post before he goes. There will, inevitably, be an interregnum when James leaves but we are looking to cover that with a temporary Director of Music.

This time of transition and we look forward to upholding the wonderful choral tradition of Chelmsford Cathedral."

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