Evensong project raises roof at Bradford Cathedral

24th April 2019

140 children. 25 schools. 1 day. 1 roof raised.

Bradford Cathedral welcomed 140 schoolchildren from 25 different schools across West Yorkshire for a taste of the chorister life as part of a recruitment campaign to boost its choir.

It was the second year the cathedral has run the Be A Chorister Morning which sees the cathedral open its door to school children of all backgrounds to learn more about singing in a choir and how to become part of the musical education available there.

Last year’s project attracted 21 new choristers – and all have stayed.

Bradford Cathedral’s Music Department visited 25 schools across Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Leeds, over a six week period. At each school they ran singing workshops for Years 3 and 4, and over 140 children were chosen and given a golden ticket inviting them to April’s Be A Chorister for a Morning event held last week.

Bradford’s Director of Music, Alex Berry said:

“We explained about the choir and all the children who had taken part in the workshop got the opportunity to sing to us in small groups. Those who we thought were really promising were given a Golden Ticket to take home at the end of school.”

This ticket invited them to the Be a Chorister Morning which was full of singing workshops and practices and was followed by a service to which their parents were invited to see their children perform alongside the current Cathedral Choir.

There were also sessions to introduce parents to how the choir worked; what it’s like to be a chorister; and what being part of it can mean for their children.

The Dean of Bradford, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine, said:

“This was an extraordinary response to the cathedral’s invitation and it’s wonderful to welcome so many children and their families to the cathedral. This shows an enthusiasm for music in children that churches and cathedrals need to engage with.

“The children and the parents had such a terrific morning,” he added.

Alex Berry said:

“We recruited twenty-one new choristers last year and all of them have stayed with the choir and are doing really well. It’s a wonderful opportunity and great fun!”

This year also saw a big take up for the Saturday Singers, a group who meet and rehearse at the weekend with the aim of training them up to become full choristers.

Said Alex:

“We have signed up 68 new children to start the Saturday Singers in the summer term. Of the children who have signed up a large proportion come from nine schools that the Cathedral Music Department has never visited before, so this has been a fantastic success for our outreach as well as our recruitment.”

You can find out more about the work of the music department on the Bradford Cathedral website

Find out more about how popular Evensong has become at cathedrals.