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Cathedral Music Trust gives choirs a financial ‘lifeline’ for pandemic recovery

21 May 2021

YORK MINSTER

The director of music at York Minster, Robert Sharpe, who described the funding as a “lifeline”

The director of music at York Minster, Robert Sharpe, who described the funding as a “lifeline”

CHORAL foundations in the UK will be sustained by £445,500 of grants from the Cathedral Music Trust (CMT) as they seek to recover from the financial impact of lockdown.

The special-revenue grants programme announced this week succeeds the CMT’s Cathedral Choirs Emergency Fund, which reached its £1-million target in January and was match-funded by the Church Commissioners (News, 17 July 2020, 1 January 2021). Demand for grants in both rounds of funding was three times greater than the funds available.

The fund is a partnership between the CMT, the Choir Schools Association, and the Ouseley Music Trust. Thirty-six choral foundations have received funding, from Carlisle to Truro and Wales, and include Hexham and Tewkesbury Abbeys and St Paul’s Cathedral.

The chairman of the CMT, Peter Allwood, said “We are keenly aware of the continued financial pressures many choirs are still experiencing. Cathedral music has nourished and sustained many others during the past year, and we owe it to our musicians to do all that we can to keep this extraordinary heritage thriving.”

York Minster is one foundation that suffered heavy financial losses during the pandemic. Its director of music, Robert Sharpe, described the funding as a “lifeline”, enabling the Minster to employ an assistant organist and to support its delivery of a world-class musical education for its young choristers.

Support for Liverpool Cathedral is intended to ensure the long-term sustainability of its popular schools-singing programme in the community, from which many probationers are drawn. At the other end of the age group, funding for St Mary’s, Swansea, will help retain its choral scholars for the duration of their degrees.

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