Our Story

Find out where it all began, and our journey to becoming Cathedral Music Trust.

1956

FRIENDS OF CATHEDRAL MUSIC IS FOUNDED

Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) was founded by the Revd Ronald Sibthorp, Precentor of Truro Cathedral, in response to the general state of decline of cathedral music following the Second World War.

1958

GRANT GIVING BEGINS

Funded by subscriptions and legacies, the organisation started to award grants to cash-strapped choral foundations while like-minded friends began to meet regularly for events across the UK.

1993

CATHEDRAL MUSIC MAGAZINE LAUNCHED

The magazine, Cathedral Music, was launched to present in-depth articles exploring cathedral music repertoire and practice. Cathedral Voice was introduced in 2005 as a vehicle to share news and views from the world of cathedral music.

2016

DIAMOND FUND FOR CHORISTERS LAUNCHED

The Diamond Fund for Choristers was launched to support the recruitment and training of choristers while seeking to highlight the opportunities and benefits of becoming a chorister to children of all backgrounds.

2020

FCM BECOMES CATHEDRAL MUSIC TRUST

Cathedral Music Trust was established as a CIO with professional staff, building on the invaluable work of FCM. The assets of FCM were transferred, and all fundraising and activity since has been undertaken in the name of the Trust. Harry Christophers was appointed as the Trust’s first President.

CATHEDRAL CHOIRS’ EMERGENCY FUND

In response to the Covid pandemic, the Trust joined forces with the Ouseley Church Music Trust and Choir Schools’ Association to raise emergency funding for choirs that were struggling to survive. With matched funding from the Church Commissioners, the Cathedral Choirs’ Emergency Fund raised two million pounds, providing a lifeline to the sector.

2021

MORE PARTNERSHIP RESEARCH COMMISSIONED

As the pandemic continued, the Trust commissioned More Partnership to conduct ground-breaking research into the state of cathedral music, with the objective of raising awareness of the issues faced by the sector and informing our strategy for the coming years.

April
Alexander Armstrong makes a speech

ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG BECOMES AMBASSADOR

Former chorister, now presenter, actor and comedian Alexander Armstrong joined the Trust as its first Ambassador, alongside President of the Trust and Founder of The Sixteen, Harry Christophers CBE.

April
May

TRUST SUPPORTS 36 CHOIRS

Awards made in 2021 totalled £444,500, with both Anglican and Roman Catholic choral foundations benefitting from the Trust’s support. The 2021 special revenue grants programme was set up to help sustain cathedral, abbey and church choirs as they sought to recover from the devastating financial impact of the pandemic.

May
2022
January

ROYAL PATRON ANNOUNCED

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester has a long-held commitment to the opportunities music provides for young people. As former Patron of The Diamond Fund for Choristers, we were pleased to welcome Her Royal Highness as Royal Patron of the Trust.

January
April

CHURCH CHOIR AWARD LAUNCHED

In partnership with the Royal School of Church Music, the Trust created this award to recognise and develop excellence in music-making by church choirs by funding imaginative new projects and activities.

April
Summer

GRANTS AWARDED TO 28 CHOIRS

The Trust distributed £430,000 to choral foundations across the UK and Ireland, including six inaugural recipients of the Church Choir Award in partnership with the RSCM.

Summer
September

ANNA LAPWOOD MBE BECOMES AMBASSADOR

Organist, choir director and tik-tok superstar Anna Lapwood MBE joined the Trust as its second Ambassador alongside.

September
October

THE FUTURE FOR CATHEDRAL MUSIC

A report was jointly published by the Trust and More Partnership, laying the foundations for the strategic direction of Cathedral Music Trust.

October
2023
Summer

FUNDING BOOST FOR 34 CHOIRS

Over £450,000 was distributed to enable choirs to expand their work with musicians and young people – funding school engagement, chorister development programmes and paid adult positions which are all essential to a thriving tradition.

Summer
2024
February

ALEXANDER ARMSTRONG’S CHORAL ADVENTURE

Our Ambassador embarks on a tour of the UK’s cathedral choirs, highlighting the importance of our great tradition and encouraging support from those who cherish it.

February
April

TRUST APPOINTS FIRST CEO

Cathedral Music Trust announced the appointment of Jonathan Mayes as the first Chief Executive in the charity’s history. Alongside this appointment was an exciting addition to the Board of Trustees, renowned choral and orchestral conductor David Hill MBE.

April
 

How to support us

Our work is only made possible through the generosity of our supporters and volunteers.  Each year we help tens of thousands of people to discover the joy of choral music in cathedrals, churches and local communities. Get involved and make a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of individuals involved in the UK’s vibrant choral music tradition.