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The Friends of Cathedral Music (FCM) has awarded Worcester Cathedral an endowment grant of £20,000 to fund the training and development of the Cathedral Choir, so that it can support the development and training of the boy and girl Choristers, the Lay Clerks and the Choral Scholars - they are not able to do this due to insufficient funding.

The individual vocal lessons are critically important because they substantially improve the quality of performance of the Choir as a whole and they also ensure that their voices are developing properly. Currently the boys receive up to 5 individual lessons of 20 minutes duration per term. The Probationers are informally tutored by the Organ and Choral Scholars. The Choral and Organ Scholars and the Lay Clerks only receive occasional tuition and the girls receive no vocal tuition at all. It is a condition of endowment grants that the funds are invested and only the interest yielded may be used to fund the project.

Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral, Dr Peter Nardone said:
‘Worcester Cathedral is delighted to receive this endowment grant of £20,000 from the Friends of Cathedral Music in support of the Cathedral choir. This welcome grant will help us to create a structured programme of vocal training for all members of the Cathedral Choir and also assist us greatly with our recruitment of new Choristers.’

The Cathedral hosted a special Evensong and reception last year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Friends of Cathedral Music and this grant will be formally presented to the Cathedral by the Friends of Cathedral Music after Choral Evensong on Saturday 30th September, 2017.

Background information
There has been a choir at Worcester Cathedral for over 1,000 years and since the 18th century, the Cathedral has been famous for its part in the annual Three Choirs Festival, the oldest choral festival in existence. The Festival is returning to Worcester in July 2017. The Cathedral has a strong track record of training Choristers who have gone on to distinguished musical careers, including Dr Stephen Cleobury and Professor Stephen Darlington. Dr Christopher Robinson was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Worcester Cathedral and conductor of several Three Choirs Festivals, and Sir David Willcocks was Director of Music in the early part of his career.

The Cathedral Choir is made up of 18 boy and 18 girl Choristers, 6 Principal Lay Clerks, 3 Assistant Lay Clerks and 3 Choral Scholars. Worcester Cathedral also has a Voluntary Choir, founded in 1874, which is unique among English Cathedrals. This Choir sings the Sunday evening services and joins the Cathedral Choir at festivals. There is also a Chamber Choir and the Worcester Festival Choral Society, which is a large choir of over 150 members, from which singers are selected to take part in the Three Choirs Festivals.