Canterbury Cathedral Choir Announces Equality and Inclusion Plan for Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs
Today (Monday 13 February 2023), The Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral, together with the Director of Music, David Newsholme, have announced that from September 2023, membership of the Boys’ Choir will be open to children from any school with compulsory boarding no longer being a requirement to be in the choir.
The Cathedral is committed to progressing equality and inclusion throughout the establishment and this change ensures that both the Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs are on an equal footing, whilst cementing the future and quality of the choir and music-making within the church. The boy choristers (aged 8-13) and girl choristers (aged 12-18) will each sing three services a week and will be able to attend any local school giving families both flexibility and choice.
The Very Reverend Dr David Monteith, Dean of Canterbury, said:
‘Music is an integral part of worship in which the Cathedral takes great pride. We have a united vision of Canterbury Cathedral that blesses and serves the people of Canterbury and the wider community. We believe that this announcement helps children across the area benefit from the life-changing experience that singing in a cathedral choir offers whilst ensuring the continuation of the choir for generations to come. We are extremely grateful for the support and contribution St Edmund’s School have made during the past 50 years of our close partnership. We extend our sincere thanks to them and look forward to working alongside them in the years to come.’
David Newsholme, Director of Music at Canterbury Cathedral, said:
‘We want music-making in our cathedral not just to survive, but to evolve and flourish, and we share the Cathedral Music Trust’s commitment to enabling children from a diverse range of backgrounds to experience the many benefits that come from being a chorister. We believe that this is the way to secure the future of the choir and we are excited to be moving forwards into this new era building on the strengths of our two well-established and respected choirs.’
The Cathedral will continue to financially support all choristers currently studying at St Edmund’s School on a full choral scholarship until their tenure with the choir has finished.
Canterbury Cathedral Choir consists of adult singers, boy choristers aged between 8 and 13, and girl choristers aged between 12 and 18. The choir boasts a stellar list of alumni including Sir Mark Elder, Trevor Pinnock and Harry Christophers, among many others.
Harry Christophers CBE, former chorister of Canterbury Cathedral and founder and conductor of The Sixteen, said:
‘I am very much indebted to the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral for the incredible experience it gave me as a chorister back in the 1960s. It instilled in me a passion for music, and, without doubt, I would not be where I am today without that opportunity. I came from a very humble background and without the inclusive recruitment policy that was practised during my tenure, my parents would not have had the means to fund compulsory private schooling, nor would they have wished me to board, making joining the choir an impossibility. I am very much in support of this move to enable children from a diverse range of backgrounds to experience the many benefits that come from being a chorister.’
For further information please contact Libby Binks at [email protected]