Sponsors sought to keep Peterborough Cathedral Choir thriving

Peterborough Cathedral is looking for companies and individuals with a desire to create life-changing opportunities for young people in the city to come forward and sponsor a chorister for a year.

By Brad Barnes
Sunday, 25th July 2021, 3:10 pm
Peterborough Cathedral is looking for sponsors for its choristers
Peterborough Cathedral is looking for sponsors for its choristers

The Cathedral Choir has been enriching the spiritual and musical life of the City for centuries and the current choir continues this tradition. Alongside professional adult singers, known as Lay Clerks, children are recruited annually to join the choir by training as choristers.

The opportunity to audition for the Cathedral Choir is open to any child, regardless of their background, and selection is based on their musical potential.

They join the Choir in school Year 3 at the age of 7 and a choristership lasts for 6 years. At first they attend the Junior Department of The King’s (The Cathedral) School before they move to the secondary school at the age of 11. The school, founded by Henry VIII in 1541, is a state-funded Church of England academy.

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Peterborough Cathedral is looking for sponsors for its choristers

Choristers become part of the Cathedral Choir alongside the adults, including three Choral Scholars, six Lay Clerks and three Assistant Lay Clerks. There are up to 52 boy and girl choristers in the Choir at any one time.

The Cathedral Choir sings in term time at approximately 350 services a year, from weekday Evensong to major festivals such as Christmas and Easter, as well as civic services for special occasions such as the Installation of the Mayor and Remembrance Sunday.

They also sing at concerts with other musicians, make recordings and represent the Cathedral and City on overseas singing tours.

Offering a world-class musical education to choristers is achieved by providing talented Cathedral Music Department staff to lead, teach and inspire. It means singing lessons for everyone in the Choir, buying music, providing and maintaining robes, tuning pianos and organs, supporting places at The King’s School and, not least, feeding hungry choristers after school before they rehearse.

And when you take all that into consideration, the cost per year for each chorister is around £3,000. Whilst a small percentage of the cost of a choristership is covered by grants from trusts and other sources, if the Cathedral is to continue to offer these opportunities, sponsorship and donations are vital.

“Sponsoring a chorister is a wonderful way to support individuals in their music making,” said Tansy Castledine, Director of Music at the Cathedral.

“Helping the choristers undertake this unique and distinctive experience in turn gives back to the cultural life of the city and beyond, as the choir seeks to enrich all people’s lives through music and words that are centuries old, but still ring true today.

“We treasure the diversity of our choir and the talent that this brings to our singing. Being a chorister lays a foundation that lasts a lifetime, not just musically, but also spiritually and artistically.”

The sponsorship being sought is £1,500, in monthly instalments or as a lump sum. Sponsors can take advantage of two complimentary tickets to two Cathedral Choir concerts a year, or a complimentary Tower Tour for up to 6 people (ages 8+). They also receive invitations to attend a Choir rehearsal and evening drinks reception, and a special benefactors’ Evensong each year.

If you would like to find out more visit www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/sponsorachorister.aspx or contact the Cathedral Music Department via [email protected] or 01733 355315. Auditions for the choir usually take place in November for children in Year 2, who would join the choir the following September.

New Children’s Choir starts in September

In September 2021, the Cathedral is launching a new children’s choir. It’s for budding singers in Year 1-3 to gain experience in singing both in a group and individually, and will develop their musicianship and social skills in a friendly, dynamic, and musical atmosphere.

Rehearsing once a week, the children will sing at two or three Cathedral services or events each term initially, enabling them to take a full part in the life of a choir and experience the rich heritage that the Cathedral has to offer. The Children’s Choir is open to anyone at any school who likes making noise, and new recruits are warmly invited to get in touch for more details of how to sign up.

Singing for everyone

Singing is for everyone, and Peterborough Cathedral also has opportunities for more experienced singers to join the Cathedral Youth Choir which is for those aged between approximately 13-22 years old.

Rehearsing weekly and singing in the Cathedral regularly, this choir provides an opportunity for more advanced musical and vocal training and to extend the performing opportunities of young musicians in the city, for singing is becoming a real focus of their musical studies. Adults singers are also welcome at the Cathedral; our Festival Chorus also rehearses weekly and sings in the major cathedral concerts each term and is open to all. There is no audition, just lots of enthusiasm required!