From the Revd Clive M. P. Jones
Sir, - As a former Priest Vicar and Canon Precentor of Llandaff
Cathedral, I was saddened and appalled when I read your report
"Protest at Llandaff choir cuts" (News, 8 November).
Unfortunately, there was a hint of this a few years ago, when
the choir ceased to be a boarding choir at the Cathedral School;
but the Organist and Master of the Choristers has managed to
maintain standards despite this setback.
Surely this problem of finance has not suddenly appeared: where
have the various authorities been in preparing contingency plans
for the future of the choir? There certainly seems to be a distinct
lack of planning by all concerned. Llandaff has proudly been the
foremost cathedral choir in the Church in Wales, and has certainly
contributed a great deal to the atmosphere of worship at the
cathedral. Indeed, it was through the singing of the choir that I,
as a music student at Cardiff University, became an Anglican, and a
Are we to let the tradition of a century and a half disappear
because of the lack of foresight? This is surely a wake-up call and
a challenge to the cathedral authorities to save a precious part of
the cathedral life. I hope that former choristers and all
interested will act before it is too late.
In days when we hear a great deal about the increase in
cathedral congregations throughout the country, often due to the
beauty of the music and worship, Llandaff cannot possibly let this
precious gift be lost for future generations.
This morning my quarterly copy of Friends of Cathedral
Music arrived - and I cannot help but quote from an article
about Paisley Abbey. George McPhee, the Organist and Master of the
Choristers since 1963, says: "An increased determination to succeed
spurs me on to ensure that the Abbey's music will outlast all of
Can this be said of the Llandaff authorities today? I
If I can help, I will be prepared to do so for the sake of
cathedral music and the choristers of the future.
CLIVE M. P. JONES
31 Lowbury Gardens, Compton RG20 6NN
From Mr John Ewington
Sir, - It is distressing to read about the situation at Llandaff
Cathedral regarding the choir and the musicians generally.
This sounds rather like a panic measure that has not been
thought through. There are plenty of cathedrals that are in debt,
but they do not slash their music department. One of the main
reasons why people attend cathedrals is to hear good music, and, if
there is none, that in itself will reduce the congregation and,
with it, the members' financial support. Once a choir has been
dismantled, it is very difficult to build it up again, as any
choirmaster will testify.
Surely, with the proper advice, this debt could be cleared. If,
for example, everybody in the diocese gave £5, it would probably go
a long way to meeting the sum required, and surely local commerce
and industry can be brought in to set up an endowment to secure the
future of the choir and organists.
Incidentally, I cannot help wondering how the money was raised
for the fairly recent splendid new organ. They do not come
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