On Sunday 12th June 2022 we welcomed Rosemary Downey, National Gatherings Manager for the Friends of Cathedral Music Trust, to the 10:30am service, to present their grant of £17,000 to Bradford Cathedral Choir.

The funding was received on the day by Alexander Berry, Bradford Cathedral’s Director of Music, and Graham Thorpe, the Assistant Director, who is also the Cathedral Music Trust’s area representative for Bradford and Leeds.

Rosemary said at the service in Bradford Cathedral:
“Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of your Eucharist service this morning, and to hear your wonderful choir, and I’ll be delighted to report back to the trustees of our board that the choir and music in Bradford Cathedral is flourishing.

“I do congratulate Alex and Graham, and both choirs, very warmly on their achievements.

“The board considered, very carefully, the application put forward by Bradford. They were most impressed by the Cathedral’s efforts to engage with local schools.

“Engaging with local schools is so important and provides a solid pathway for future choristers in the area

“The Cathedral Music Trust grew out of the charity ‘Friends of Cathedral Music’ over the last few years. And whilst it still provides the grants and is doing all the same work, it’s broadening its scope, and is now widely recognised as the leading voice for Cathedral music, campaigning on behalf of Cathedral music and musicians throughout the UK, encouraging the pursuit of excellence. It has an advisory panel and well-known ambassadors such as Harry Christophers and Alexander Armstrong.

“Whilst continuing to provide social and educational opportunities locally and nationally, the Trust is continuing to explore new ways to encourage commitment from both the young and the not-so young, through online conferences, a future leaders’ group, and sponsorship of important projects.

“Each year the Trust receives far more requests for funding than it can possibly support. In the first year of the pandemic we raised £1million, and this was immediately distributed to those choral foundations in most need.

“This year the Trust has been able to award grants totalling £400,000, and this has been enabled through regular subscriptions, donations, and legacies.”

“It gives me great pleasure to present the grant of £17,000 to Bradford Cathedral for the on-going work of the music department.”

Alexander Berry, Director of Music at Bradford Cathedral, said:

“We are thrilled that the Cathedral Music Trust has chosen to support the ongoing work of the music department at Bradford Cathedral. This grant will enable us to continue the provision of individual singing tuition to our choristers, which plays a key role in building the sound of the choir and growing the choristers’ confidence. It will also help us to fund key staff posts in the Music Department, which help us offer the choristers such a high level of pastoral care.

“We are delighted that Rosemary Downey was able to come to Bradford to present the Cathedral Music Trust’s grant, and thank the Trust for all they have done to support the choral foundation here at Bradford Cathedral”

Rosemary reported back on the service to the board of directors, saying:
“This morning we had the girls’ choir and back row – lots of girls, some very new to the choir – and I understand the boys are doing well too. Led by Alex Berry and Graham Thorpe they tackled Schubert, Grayston Ives and Franck and did very well. The choir had recently returned from a tour of East Anglia, where they sang in Grantham Parish Church, Ely Cathedral, St Edmundsbury, Norwich RC cathedral, and Southwell on the way home!

“I was warmly welcomed by the Acting Dean, Paul, and Acting Precentor, Philip, They were all hugely grateful for the grant and the attention and care of the Trust.

“I was left with the overwhelming sense of a vibrant community, existing on goodwill, energy, effort and cake, against considerable adversity and poverty.”

The Revd Canon Paul Maybury, Acting Dean of Bradford, said:
“Thank you to the Trust for your generous and critical support; we are so very grateful. We look forward to welcoming you and your colleagues to Bradford Cathedral again, before too long.”

The Revd Philip Gray, Acting Canon Precentor, said:
“It was lovely to welcome Rosemary and to hear her speak of the works of the Trust. Thank you so much for the big “vote of thanks” – and for your appreciation of the work of our Cathedral.”

Look out for more music events in the near future, including a ‘Come and Sing Choral Evensong’ taking place later in the year. You can find out more about the Cathedral Music Trust on their website, pick up a leaflet at the Cathedral or speak to Graham Thorpe.

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