‘It’s bizarre that children can sing in schools, but not cathedrals’, says conductor Harry Christophers

Aug 7, 2020 by

by Maddy Shaw Roberts, Classic FM:

A leading choral conductor condemns the government’s restrictions on choristers’ music-making.

With singing still forbidden inside places of worship around the country, Britain’s cathedral choir tradition faces its biggest threat in centuries.

Anglican cathedrals are set to lose £28.4m in income this year, not even counting Westminster Abbey, which alone faces a £12m shortfall this year.

All this means, among other difficulties, that cathedrals are struggling to maintain their training of child choristers.

Harry Christophers, one of the world’s leading choral directors, has said he finds it “totally bizarre that child choristers are at present allowed to sing in their school halls, but not in cathedrals”.

Aside from older pupils in years 10 to 13, who are deemed to be more vulnerable to the potential risk posed by flying droplets of saliva from singing, children are currently allowed to sing in schools from September.

In an interview with The Times, Christophers said: “Think of the size of somewhere like St Paul’s Cathedral. Andrew Carwood [the director of music at St Paul’s] could give a huge amount of space to social distancing between his singers, if he was allowed to do so.”

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