Ripon Cathedral was filled with the voices of more than 100 children on Sunday, January 20, as our choir was joined by some 50 school pupils eager for a glimpse of life as a chorister.
Over Christmas thousands of people from across the region heard the voices of Ripon Cathedral Choir, either at packed carol concerts or during various radio broadcasts. Now, after a short and well-deserved break, the choir is back and looking for a new cohort of singers to join its ranks.
The Choir Experience gave children a taste of life in the choir as well as providing an opportunity for parents to meet members of staff and other choir parents.
The children, aged five to ten, enjoyed some coaching from our lay clerk David Pisaro, and our Singing Development Leaders, before signing with our acclaimed choir and joining in our afternoon service.
The first record of singing in the cathedral dates back to the 7th century, when St Wilfrid introduced a choir from Canterbury to lead the worship. Today, nearly 1350 years later, the choral tradition continues to flourish, as Canon Michael explains: “The choir is a vibrant centre to worship here at Ripon Cathedral but it is so much more than that. The children of the choir get a fantastic musical education with bursaries for learning instruments, free music theory classes and a fun way of learning delivered by our staff.
“This is, of course, set in the context of limited resources in music departments at many schools. We believe that by supporting music education in this area of North Yorkshire, we are continuing a legacy created by our founder, St Wilfrid, and providing skills that benefit children in a myriad of ways.
“Choristers are highly prized by schools. Previous choristers have gone on to sing in the National Youth Choir and have obtained choral and music scholarships to universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Durham.
“We’ve got a great programme planned for 2019 including lots of social events and even an international tour.”