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THE CHAPTER OF CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL together with the director of music, David Newsholme, have announced that from September 2023 membership of the Boys’ Choir will be open to children from any school. Compulsory boarding at the Choir House in the cathedral precincts and studying at St Edmund’s School will no longer be a requirement for choir membership.

The change is part of the Cathedral’s mission to progress equality and inclusion, part of which is to ensure that both the Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs are on an equal footing, and to cement the future and quality of the choir and music-making within the church. The boy choristers and girl choristers will each sing three services a week and will be able to attend any local school.

The Cathedral will continue to support financially all choristers currently studying at St Edmund’s School on a full choral scholarship until their tenure with the choir has finished.

The Very Reverend Dr David Monteith, Dean of Canterbury, said: ‘Music is an integral part of worship in which the Cathedral takes great pride. We have a united vision of Canterbury Cathedral that blesses and serves the people of Canterbury and the wider community. We believe that this announcement helps children across the area benefit from the life-changing experience that singing in a cathedral choir offers while ensuring the continuation of the choir for generations to come. We are extremely grateful for the support and contribution [those at] St Edmund’s School have made during the past 50 years of our close partnership. We extend our sincere thanks to them and look forward to working alongside them in the years to come.’

Director of music David Newsholme added: ‘We want music-making in our cathedral not just to survive, but to evolve and flourish, and we share the Cathedral Music Trust’s commitment to enabling children from a diverse range of backgrounds to experience the many benefits that come from being a chorister. We believe that this is the way to secure the future of the choir and we are excited to be moving forwards into this new era, building on the strengths of our two wellestablished and respected choirs.’

Canterbury Cathedral Choir consists of 12 adult singers (eight lay clerks and four choral scholars), 25 boy choristers aged 8-13, and 25 girl choristers aged 12-18. Choir alumni include the conductors Christopher Seaman, Mark Elder, Harry Christophers and Trevor Pinnock, as well as the singer Alfred Deller and pianist Roger Vignoles.

From September 2023, members of Canterbury Cathedral’s Boys’ Choir will no longer need to board

Harry Christophers CBE, former chorister of Canterbury Cathedral and founder and conductor of The Sixteen, said: ‘I am very much indebted to the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral for the incredible experience it gave me as a chorister back in the 1960s. It instilled in me a passion for music, and, without doubt, I would not be where I am today without that opportunity. I came from a very humble background and without the inclusive recruitment policy that was practised during my tenure, my parents would not have had the means to fund compulsory private schooling, nor would they have wished me to board, making joining the choir an impossibility. I am very much in support of this move to enable children from a diverse range of backgrounds to experience the many benefits that come from being a chorister.’ worship/music




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