Revd Pete Gunstone

Bradford Cathedral

Presenter Profile

Revd Pete is a priest-musician. The son of a charismatic Anglo-Catholic and an Anglican-Baptist, he continues in his parents’ tradition of eclectic ecumenism. Following a year out with Soul Survivor, undergraduate music study in the University of Leeds and postgraduate performance study in the Royal Northern College of Music, Pete worked as a freelance classical and church musician for many years. This consisted of conducting choirs, playing the harpsichord and organ, and leading worship from the guitar, djembe, or keyboard in a range of local, national and international contexts. Following study in the Universities of Oxford and Durham in preparation for ordination, Pete served his title post as part of the team planting Fountains Church Bradford and subsequently moved to Bradford Cathedral where he is now Minor Canon for Worship and Nurture.

Pete is intrigued by the great variety of cultural expressions of Christianity and Christian worship, their particularities, and the ways in which they do – and do not – relate to one another. He is interested in exploring how these different traditions might be enabled to better relate to one another, especially as regards the practice of musical worship. He greatly enjoyed curating such as space as Music Director for the Lambeth Conference 2022, and is now exploring this in a more sustained and local way through his role at Bradford Cathedral.

Diverse People Inhabiting Praise Together

“The Archbishops’ Commission on racial Justice (ACRJ) is of the view that embracing the cultural expressions of people of GMH/UKME background within the life of the Church and its liturgy would help ensure that any gains made on racial justice are not fleeting but long-lasting.” (The Church of England, Fourth Biannual Report of the Archbishops’ Commission for Racial Justice, p.50)

The idea of incorporating other ‘musicks’ can be a challenging for exponents of the English Choral Tradition. The cultural gap between the so called ‘popular’ and ‘classical’ musical traditions is sometimes a repellent, rather than an attraction. Furthermore, the ongoing challenges of maintaining our distinctive and previous choral tradition means that musical directors sometimes have little capacity to explore, understand, and then arrange the musicks of other cultural traditions in a way that is accessible to the culture of our choirs.

This paper will respond to the vision of ‘Diverse People Inhabiting Praise Together’ with particular reference to contemporary instances of the English Choral Tradition in Cathedrals, and will address questions such as: Why should cathedral choirs be interested in exploring and engaging with the musicks of other worshipping traditions? What is their current practice? What are some possible developments?

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