The closure of places of worship and the silencing of choirs and organs during the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on cathedrals’ income and their ability to fund their choirs. In response, the Trust set up the Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund in partnership with the Ouseley Church Music Trust and the Choir Schools Association. In 2020, we raised £1 million thanks to the support of our partners, trusts and thousands of individuals. This was awarded in grants to 43 cathedrals across the UK by December 2020.
Together with the matched funding from the Church Commissioners, this brought the total awarded to support choirs in need to £2 million in 2020, ensuring that redundancies of singers for financial reasons were avoided in all Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals across the UK.
The Trust awarded a Small Revenue Grant to Carlisle Cathedral in 2021, which went towards singing lessons for choristers.
“The choir can only sing to the standard expected if all the choristers have had adequate vocal training. It’s a wonderful thing to witness young children gaining satisfaction from singing beautiful, and sometimes challenging, music at a high level. They develop a genuine interest in the repertoire and also the beginnings of an appreciation of the spiritual impact their performances have on worshippers."
Lichfield Cathedral received a revenue grant in 2021, which meant the music department was not only able to maintain the number of choral services at the cathedral every week, but also introduce Compline, increasing the number of sung services. Four soprano choral scholars, who are sixth formers at the cathedral school, take responsibility for singing Compline and also join with senior boy and girl choristers at Thursday Evensong to allow for more challenging repertoire.
"The soprano choral scholars are an exciting addition to the choir, for whom we could not provide the training and opportunity without the support of the Cathedral Music Trust."
Thanks to a revenue grant in 2021, Leeds Cathedral was able to retain its three organ scholars, who provide essential rehearsal support at the music department's busy schedule of weekly rehearsals and share responsibility for accompanying the Cathedral's many choirs during services. In addition, the grant helped prevent redundancies of other music staff, which has allowed the department to maintain the overall quality of its work. The Choirs of Leeds Cathedral continue to perform a wide variety of repertoire, maintaining a high standard of music-making in all eight of their weekly choral services.
"Once again, we would like to commend the Cathedral Music Trust for its reactive support throughout the coronavirus crisis. Its adaptive approach to grant-making has ensured that thousands of children and young people across the UK continue to reap the many benefits of cathedral music-making at a time when they are most needed."
A revenue grant in 2021 enabled St Edmundsbury to dramatically turn around its music department by focusing on outreach and chorister tuition.
"There is no doubt that the grant from the Trust has made possible [our] success and re-energised activity. We simply could not have achieved this dramatic turn-around in the quality and quantity of music here without it. The result has many tentacles: improved morale and accomplishments in our music and liturgy departments has a knock-on effect across the whole cathedral – its mission, ministry, congregations, diocese and county."
See who we have helped in recent years
View recipients of our grants