Photos: Helen Tabor
A triumphant weekend of celebration at Ripon Cathedral saw two of North Yorkshire’s illustrious musical institutions re-unite to mark the cathedral’s 1350th anniversary of its consecration by St Wilfrid in AD672.
The ancient walls of the nave reverberated with the stunning sound of Ripon Cathedral Choir and the prestigious St Cecilia Orchestra for a Celebration Concert on Saturday and a Celebration Service on Sunday. The orchestra was originally formed in 1993 to accompany the cathedral choir, going on to perform in its own right at over 300 concerts and more than 60 venues.
The origins of Ripon Cathedral Choir date back to AD680 when St Wilfrid introduced cantors from Canterbury Cathedral, starting a musical tradition which continues to thrive today.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson said: “Music has made a wonderful contribution to prayer and worship here for thirteen-and-a-half centuries. Wilfrid brought cantors from Canterbury to lead the antiphonal singing of chants within his new church and monastic community. In a real sense we are celebrating 1350 years of music here at Ripon.
“Today’s cathedral choir plays a central role in this. Led by our new Director of Music, Dr Ronny Krippner and his gifted team of musicians, the choir is recovering amazingly well from the pandemic and striding forwards towards new uplands of choral achievement. This is something of which the whole community can be proud, especially as our inclusive approach is drawing in choristers from local schools.
“We are grateful to St Cecilia’s Musical Director Xen Kelsey and members of the orchestra for partnering with Dr Krippner and the cathedral’s musicians and choir, to provide a stunning evening of music and a fitting contribution to our 1350th anniversary celebrations.”
The concert saw a varied programme of accompanied and unaccompanied classics, showcasing cathedral music over the centuries and including Tallis’ If ye love me and Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, performed in the stunning setting of the cathedral.
The partnership is something which the cathedral is keen to see continue going forward.
Dr Krippner said: “The renewal of this partnership, formed almost 30 years ago, is something in which we at the cathedral rejoice and which we hope will lead to many future collaborations. This is an exciting time for music at Ripon Cathedral; Project Phoenix seeks to raise the choir to new heights and a successful post pandemic recruitment campaign, as part of that project, now means that we are in a position to reintroduce separate boys and girls choirs from September, with more sung services showcasing the wonderful talent that we foster here.”