Choral Traditions Return

24th November 2020

As we celebrate the announcement that public worship can resume after December 2 … there is more good news for those who love our choral tradition.

A new choral foundation launches in Durham, organ and choral scholarships at Blackburn Cathedral, a few famous faces help Bury St Eds launch a chorister recruitment drive, a surprise win for Lichfield Cathedral Chorister … and here’s those lovely people at Classical Music with their top ten list of the best cathedral and abbey choirs across the UK.

Blackburn Cathedral is offering organ and choral scholarships to gap year, university or postgrad students – find out more here.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral held a virtual chorister experience day on Saturday as part of its latest chorister recruitment drive which includes a short film featuring some people who know a bit about life as chorister.

Watch it below.


A big shout out to … Eilidh Owen, Sixth Form Choral Scholar at Lichfield Cathedral School and Lichfield Cathedral Choir, on winning the National Centre for Early Music Young Composer Award 2020 in the 18 and Under category.

Her winning composition is based upon George Herbert’s poem The Flower and will be performed by the Tallis Scholars at the Cadogan Hall on 24 March 2021 and broadcast later on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.

Eilidh says:

“I was so surprised and excited when I heard my name announced as the winner of the NCEM Young Composers Award. This was the first choir piece I’ve ever written and I didn’t expect to do so well. I still can’t believe that Radio 3 played part of my piece on the In Tune program and the nice comments made by Katie Derham. I’m really looking forward to hearing the Tallis Scholars perform my piece in London in March next year.”

Watch all the finalist’s pieces sung and the awards being announced by clicking here.

Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation launches.

Their shared heritage reaches back 600 years and this week they made history with the announcement that ancient Durham School and the Chorister School will merge to become the Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation to safeguard the choral tradition in the north east for future generations and make it accessible for all.

The new Foundation will become operational from September 2021. It will remain the choir school for Durham Cathedral’s Choristers and those pupils who are choristers will continue to be supported by the Cathedral and by the school in the fulfilment of those duties.

The Foundation will build upon the existing outreach programme to allow more local pupils to become Cathedral Choristers. The target is to recruit a full complement of 48 cathedral choristers in the next five years. This will set the choral tradition at Durham Cathedral on a new footing for the foreseeable future and aims to bring equality of opportunity to a broad and diverse base of gifted children.

Announcing the merger, the Dean of Durham, the Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, said,

“This is a wonderful opportunity to create a merged school which will offer outstanding academic, pastoral and co-curricular opportunities for all pupils and enhance the provision of independent education within the City of Durham.

“It will allow the schools to grow and develop in size and strength whilst continuing to provide a focus on the education of the individual, celebrating the unique talents of every child, nurturing and bringing out the best in them, values both schools have always shared.

“Furthermore, I am delighted that we will be safeguarding the choral tradition in the North East of England for the next generation.”

Read more on this story on this link.