Appeal hopes to strike a chord

The Very Rev John Dobson and Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred with some choir members.
The Very Rev John Dobson and Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred with some choir members.

A major appeal to guarantee the future of music at Ripon Cathedral is to be formally launched at the weekend.

The aim of the campaign, which will be launched at the cathedral on Sunday, December 14, is to raise £5m over the next five years to ensure the music at the cathedral – which has a nationwide reputation - is secured in perpetuity.

Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred, chairman of the newly-formed Ripon Cathedral Music Trust, said: “The music at the cathedral currently costs some £250,000 a year which comes out of the cathedral’s overall operating budget.

“This is already at full stretch and the plan is to establish a separate fund for all the music department’s running costs which will ensure this valuable musical heritage is secure for the future.”

The music department, which is also responsible for maintaining the organ and other musical instruments at the cathedral, is led by director of music Andrew Bryden and includes six lay clerks and 48 choristers drawn from local schools.

In addition to singing at the cathedral, future plans for the choir include an inclusive outreach programme involving schools and communities across the region.

The appeal is to be launched in Ripon Cathedral at Evensong at 5.30pm on Sunday, December 14 which will also include the choristers’ annual performance of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols. This will be followed by a reception where guests can find out more about plans for the new music trust.

The trustees of the appeal include the Rt Rev James Bell, the area Bishop for Ripon, and Tom Ramsden – the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire – as well as Philip Arundel, Andrew Kitchingman, Richard Graham, Richard Abbott and Stuart Ritchie QC.

To date, patrons of the trust include Lord Crathorne, who recently retired as Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, and the Very Rev John Dobson, the Dean of Ripon Cathedral.

The appeal has been kick-started with a £500,000 donation from fund raising events organised by the Ripon Cathedral Development Campaign.