The Cathedral Music Trust and Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) have today announced the six recipients of the first ever Church Choir Award. The grants were awarded to church choirs who have shown an exceptional dedication to musical excellence within their parish. All six churches have in common a commitment to investing in children and young people.
The Church Choir Award was launched earlier this year to recognise and develop excellence in music-making by church choirs through funding imaginative new projects and activities. Choirs were invited to apply for grants of up to £10,000 for a specific, innovative, or enriching project, be that through choral and organ training programmes, inventive recruitment projects, or through activity involving the wider community and local schools.
The following church choirs have received an award:
Chingford Parish Church
St Mary-le-Tower, Ipswich
St Mary Magdalene, Newark
St Mary’s in the Lace Market, Nottingham
St Mary-the-Virgin, West Malling
Chingford Parish Church will be using its award to establish a chorister bursary scheme for its summer residential singing course, whilst Hull Minster is increasing bursary provision for young choristers and increasing the offer of choral scholarships for university-age students.
St-Mary-le-Tower will be partnering with state schools in Ipswich to deliver choral singing activities to help grow their chorister numbers, and St Mary Magdalene, Newark is widening access to singing lessons.
In Nottingham, St Mary’s in the Lace Market has ambitious plans to establish three children's choirs, and work with local schools to provide musical and vocal training in support of their curriculum. Thanks to their Church Choir Award, St Mary-the-Virgin in West Malling will be able to increase support for its choral and organ scholarship programme.
Hugh Morris, Director of the RSCM said: "At the RSCM, we are dedicated to creating opportunities for choirs to enrich more lives through music in worship. We are delighted to offer all six Church Choir Award holders one year’s affiliation to RSCM and access to RSCM’s brand-new interactive digital version of Voice for Life®, their acclaimed choir training programme. Access to these high-quality resources, together with the funding from the Cathedral Music Trust, will make a real difference to the music-making in our communities.”
Peter Allwood, Chair of Cathedral Music Trust said: "We are pleased to have awarded the first six Church Choir Awards in recognition of excellence in liturgical music at a grass-roots level. By partnering with the RSCM, we can ensure that many more individuals will receive high-quality musical experiences, and an even wider group of people within our local parishes will come to enjoy our country’s unique choral tradition.”