Former Director of the St Cecilia Singers and current Master of Music at Norwich Cathedral, Ashley Grote, arranged the Robert Prizeman song 'Sing Forever' for this extraordinary project to raise money for the Cathedral Choirs' Emergency Fund.
Of all the online singing projects that we have seen throughout the lockdown period, it would be hard to find one more poignant or beautifully executed than this one. Over 260 choristers across the country were involved including our own Gloucester Cathedral boys and girls.
Gloucester choristers - and sons of Saint Cecilia Singers Bairbre and Sarah - recording 'Sing Forever'
Among the many casualties of COVID-19 have been our nation’s cathedral choirs. Since public worship in the Church was suspended in mid-March, choirs and organists have been out of action. Choristers’ lives are shaped by the daily singing of Choral Evensong but, in lockdown, this structurehas been missing. At the time of writing, worship has resumed, but without choral music. The future of jobs for adult singers (Lay Clerks) in cathedral worship is uncertain. The Friends of Cathedral Music (part of the newly formed Cathedral Music Trust has launched an Emergency Fund, aiming to provide £1 million of support for Cathedral Choirs at this time of crisis.
An initiative from Norwich Cathedral, the 'Sing Forever' project has drawn choristers together from 41 cathedrals and choral foundations, who recorded their parts in their own homes. They were joined by soloists Anna Haestrup and William Miles-Kingston, BBC Young Choristers of the Year, and by celebrities Aled Jones and Elizabeth Watts. The organ accompaniment was recorded by David Dunnett, Organist at Norwich Cathedral.
We caught up with our former Director, Ashley Grote, who said: “Sing Forever has been a powerful way for choristers from across the country to unite in support of their choirs, which are such a fundamental part of all their lives. Not only has the project raised a fantastic sum already for the Cathedral Choirs Emergency Fund, it has also done a lot to boost the morale of choristers, many of whom have been unable to sing for a long time. It is so important to them to realise that they are not alone, and that there are hundreds of other boys and girls from cathedrals right across the country who are missing singing just as much as they are”.
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