Ripon Cathedral Choir has hit the road to travel to London’s Lambeth Palace to perform a fund raising event for the Cathedral Music Trust.
After having first enjoyed the opportunity to walk round the lovely gardens in spring sunshine, the 120 guests moved into the private chapel where the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, welcomed them and introduced the cathedral choir – comprising the senior boy and girl choristers and Lay Clerks, as well as the Director of Music Andrew Bryden.
The chosen repertoire was O nata lux – Thomas Tallis; Sicut cervus – Palestrina; Ave verum corpus – William Byrd; Ubi caritas – Maurice Durufle; God so loved the world – John Stainer; and Dum transiset Sabbatum – John Taverner.
Following the well-received concert, the guests moved through to the Guard Room – which dates back to the 14th century – for a reception which included some light-hearted secular singing by the Lay Clerks.
They also heard from Sir Andrew Lawson-Tancred – the chairman of the Ripon Cathedral Music Trust – on the plans to raise £5m over the next five years to ensure the music at the cathedral is secured in perpetuity.
In his address, Sir Andrew stressed that probably the biggest challenges currently facing cathedral choirs was secularisation and the increasing indifference to organised religion.
Despite these challenges, he said, “cathedral chapters and treasurers have managed to sustain choral worship at the heart of daily cathedral life for centuries, despite the cost and effort involved. But without some careful planning, for how much longer can this continue?”.
He also pointed out that while people certainly visited cathedrals because they are beautiful, historic buildings; they were very often seeking something in addition and the sounds of the choir could be profoundly moving, even transformative.Highlighting that the choristers at Ripon currently number 21 girls and 19 boys drawn from 14 different schools in the area, Sir Andrew stressed how across academia, music, sport, and many professions you will find a disproportionate number of former choristers who have been outstandingly successful in their chosen career.
“I would suggest that their experience in a choir has made them excellent team players,” he added.
“It has introduced them to a range of different disciplines and developed in them a real ability to focus on the task in hand. All of which very often does gives them a head start in the real world. So, we want to ensure that we will forever be able to recruit them and fulfil our commitments to both the cathedral and wider community.”