When did we start?
The Cathedral Chamber Choir was founded by Martin Hall in 1979 as “The Martin Hall Singers” and was made up of friends, Choral Scholars, Lay Clerks, amateur, semi-professional and professional singers. This included singers from Oxford and Exeter Universities, and a few members of the founding group continue to sing.
The first singing tour visited the West Country Cathedrals at Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford.
The choir continues to grow. Each visit involves around 25-30 singers. In the 40 years since we started, nearly 400 people from all backgrounds have sung with us – many for the first time in an English Cathedral. The number continues to grow year by year.
- Martin Hall, our founder, became ‘Director Emeritus’ in Autumn 2006 and Matthew O’ Donovan took over the post of Director in his stead until August 2017.
- From 2018, our Principal Conductor is Alexander Berry, Organist and Director of Music at Bradford Cathedral.
- Our Principal Organist and Assistant Conductor is Richard Leach.
Where does the choir come from…?
Choir members are based all over the UK and some come from even further afield. We come together only when we rehearse and sing at a Cathedral city. We do not belong to any particular church, geographical area or denomination.
Scholarships and safeguarding
We offer ‘William Wingate’ scholarships to young people who would like to develop their skills singing Cathedral Services. For details see our ‘Bursaries and Grants’ page. We are a registered Educational charity (296212). As such, we can offer subsidies to some of our members, and provide a base for educating singers and organists in their own development and appreciation of the English Choral Tradition. We can assist singers and players who, for financial reasons, could not otherwise take part in our visits. The choir is developing its own Safeguarding Policy.
Singing standard and auditions
Some choirs that visit cathedrals have local or regional memberships and meet regularly. However, members of our choir come from across the UK and even further afield. Because we only rehearse our music (some of which will almost certainly be new to you) when we meet, people who sing with us must be competent sight readers, with a good blended tone and well-used to singing in choirs . Solo parts are sometimes allocated by audition on the day. When you come to sing with us for the first time the Director may ask you to sing something so that he or she can assess the most appropriate place for you to stand when rehearsing and and singing services.
What is the reason for the Choir’s name…?
Our very simple name (registered with The Charity Commission) ensures that wherever we sing, we form a natural background to the musical and liturgical setting in a place of worship, without drawing too much attention to ourselves as a group. It is the Cathedral and our contribution to its worship that is the focus for its visitors and congregation – not the choir.
Which Cathedral is represented by your Logo…?
‘The Cathedral’ in our logo is just that – an artistic amalgam of many Gothic features from various buildings we have visited. You might recognise a very tall spire, an extended West Front or a buttress – but it is completely made up from ‘spare’ Cathedral parts by a talented graphic artist.
NB (Our former website is retained for archive reference at http://mct.open.ac.uk/CCCWebne.nsf)