Why is it important?
Because singing in a cathedral choir promotes social cohesion and inclusion and brings benefits to society that often go unacknowledged:
- Cathedral choirs offer uplifting music in sublime surroundings, at no charge, almost every day of the year, providing an oasis of calm in a busy and tense world. Increasing numbers now attend sung services and find their lives enriched by the experience.
- Through outreach programmes, these choirs engage children who otherwise would have little contact with singing or music making.
- Cathedral choirs bring children and families from different backgrounds and communities together, breaking down social and ethnic barriers.
- Through the skills imparted by musical training and regular performance, they help children, especially those in challenging circumstances, to nurture ambition, develop self-esteem, overcome disadvantage and fulfil their potential.
- Cathedral choristers go on to provide the backbone of the UK’s finest adult choirs, and some become internationally renowned musicians.
- Cathedral music, a unique and priceless 1400-year-old strand in the UK’s heritage and the country’s oldest living cultural tradition, is one of the country’s greatest contributions to our own and world culture. UK cathedral choirs regularly tour the world, are broadcast nationally and internationally, and are admired as the finest of their kind anywhere.
- The cathedral music tradition generates a vast repertoire of new music, impacting directly on the vibrancy of contemporary music. Some of the UK’s finest music has been written, and continues to be written, for cathedrals.
At a personal level, singing in a cathedral choir offers young people unparalleled individual development opportunities.
- It equips them with key skills and attributes for life such as concentration, discipline, time management, team working, commitment, accuracy, self-confidence, an ability to handle competing pressures, and attachment to high standards.
- Choristers perform to the same standards as adult professionals – this is the only field of human endeavour where the contribution of children is routinely as vital and effective as that of adults, and it accustoms them early in life to dealing with major challenges.
- Choristers tend to do well not just in music but in whatever career path they choose thanks to the skills they acquired at an early age – medicine, politics, the law, government, the media, sports, business and finance, to name but a few.
- Cathedral choristers acknowledge the transformative effect of their training on their lives. The benefits flow back to the workplace, the community and the nation.
Cathedral choristers are indeed a national asset. We cannot afford to lose this unique strand in our cultural heritage, nor this rich pool of talent for the future. We believe that children from all backgrounds, regardless of family income, ethnicity or gender, should have the opportunity to benefit from these superb opportunities.