Our Choirs & Outreach
We have a large number of choirs associated with Lichfield Cathedral, providing for most ages and abilities.
The choir today is made up of three discrete sections which form many different combinations:
The Lay Vicars Choral provided the Alto, Tenor and Bass parts, and generally sing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday during term-time.
The Boy Choristers (up to 18 Full Choristers and 2 probationers from year 3-8) sing the Treble parts on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and the majority of Sundays during term-time. All Boy Choristers attend Lichfield Cathedral School.
The Girl Choristers (up to 16 Full Choristers and 2 probationers from year 6-10) sing the Treble parts on Wednesday and some Sunday during term-time. All Girl Choristers attend Lichfield Cathedral School.
These three sections then all come together for principal feast days and concerts.
The musical repertoire is wide-ranging, from ancient plainsong to brand-new commissions. We are often accompanied by the playing of our fine Hill organ, and more occasionally by orchestral groups, and even drums and bass guitar at our termly Music Share concerts with diocesan schools.
Young & Youth Voices
Lichfield Cathedral Young Voices was founded in December 2008 by Cathy Lamb (Director) as part of the Cathedral’s Music Share singing outreach programme. The choir is a non-auditioned choir and meets every Saturday during term-time. The original age group intended was for 7-13 year olds, but the success has been such that we have divided into two sections – the Young Voices and the Youth Voices (directed by Ailsa Cochrane) and so the two choirs span an age range of 6-18. We are thrilled to have a young piano accompanist, who first began as a singing member, and is now our Cathedral Junior Organ Scholar. We also have several young singing leaders and the support of a superb group of adult volunteers who enable us to take part in events both in and outside the Cathedral. Past engagements have included venues such as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.
If you would be interested in joining either choir then please contact Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir was founded by Peter King, then Assistant Organist at Lichfield Cathedral, to help provide music for cathedral services during the Choral Foundation’s holidays. Since then, the role of the choir has grown to also encompass singing for services as part of many of the Cathedral’s principal feasts (including Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Ascension and All Souls’), singing for weddings, funerals and other occasional services in the West Midlands, as well as a busy concert schedule. The choir also undertakes tours (most recently in 2014, to Hungary) and visits to other cathedrals and churches (most recently to Chichester, Worcester, Bath, and York). In recent years the choir has broadcast on BBC Radios 2 and 4, most notably for several live broadcasts as part of the ‘Sunday Worship’ series. The choir has also made several appearances on television during its thirty-year history, and recorded a number of CDs, most recently in collaboration with the cathedral choir for Regent Records. Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir is proud of its association with the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, and is honoured to have sung there to support the worship on many important occasions. The choir is a member of the Association of Cathedral Voluntary Choirs, and hosted its annual conference in July 2015. Its Music Directors have included Mark Shepherd, Nigel Argust, and the current Director, Martyn Rawles. It has a broad range of repertoire, from the Renaissance period through to contemporary compositions. It is a lively, sociable group, striving to achieve high standards and gaining much pleasure in making music together.
The choir is made up of 35 volunteers, and rehearses on Monday evenings. They are always delighted to hear from potential new members, or people seeking to book the choir for an event.
The choir can be contacted via email@example.com.
Lichfield Cathedral Chorus has been making music in Lichfield since 1959 when the Cathedral organist at the time, Dick Greening, put together a choir of 65 singers for a performance of Handel's Messiah. For the first 50 years it was known as Lichfield Cathedral Special Choir - the “special” in the name deriving from the original purpose of the choir, which was to stand in for the Cathedral choir during vacations and to perform on special occasions.
The Chorus has maintained its close association with the Cathedral, with successive Cathedral Organists and Directors of Music taking on the role of Musical Director. However, it no longer deputises for the Cathedral choir and has grown considerably in size, now having around 120 members. To mark these changes, in 2010 it was decided that it was time to change the name to reflect better its continuing role and Lichfield Cathedral Chorus was born.
Lichfield Cathedral Chorus Today
Ben Lamb, Joint Director of Music at Lichfield Cathedral joined us as Musical Director in September 2010 and Martyn Rawles, the Cathedral’s Organist & Assistant Director of Music, is our accompanist and regularly plays organ and continuo parts in our concerts. The Chorus continues to perform two to three concerts a year, both large scale choral works with professional orchestra and soloists, and smaller works for choir and organ. Our programme covers a wide range of choral repertoire and we work hard with Ben to produce music of high quality, for which we now regularly receive high critical acclaim:
‘The stars of the show, however, were undoubtedly the enthusiastic and well-rehearsed Chorus. There was a sense of deep empathy with this music, Ben and the singers working as one, and this showed in a renewed confidence in the tenors, (especially in the Confutatis), and a warm, well balanced sound throughout. Strong bass entries in Quam olim Abrahae, lovely intonation and control in the sopranos (who never sounded strained), a balance with the orchestra which meant we never struggled to hear any part, crisp rhythms in the fugal passages and the perfect speeds set by the conductor all combined into a near-perfect whole which reflected in the sheer enjoyment emanating from the singers.’ - Review of Mozart ‘Requiem’ K626 – 29th March 2015, Megan Barr
The Chorus has a strong and developing sense of community and, as well as its own concerts, takes part in other events in and around the city of Lichfield, working with children and young people to support and encourage the next generation of singers wherever possible. In 2014 we recorded our first ever CD of Christmas music ‘The Promise of Ages’ with children from local primary schools and Lichfield Cathedral’s Young and Youth Voices, directed by Cathy Lamb, who jointly directs music at Lichfield Cathedral with Ben. For the first time in 2016 we shall be performing a major choral work in the Lichfield Arts Festival.
Our annual Christmas Carol Concert with the Salvation Army Cannock Citadel Band is hugely popular.
The Chorus has also commissioned new works such as The Coming of the Kingdom (Malcolm Archer) and Easter Oratorio (Paul Spicer). In 2009, on the occasion of our 50th Anniversary, we commissioned another work, Advent Oratorio, by Paul Spicer which was premiered in Lichfield Cathedral in that year. A live CD recording of this performance is available.
We are always pleased to welcome new tenors and basses but, in order to keep a balance, we sometimes need to have a waiting list for sopranos and altos. If you are interested in joining us please contact our Membership Secretary for further information. Rehearsals usually take place in the Cathedral on Thursdays in term time from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Social, fundraising and other community events take place at intervals throughout the year.
Further details are available here.
“Music Share is a simple idea – take a small group of choristers to a school and work with the pupils and their teacher on singing activities. This simple idea has benefited hundreds of young people and their teachers by the delivery of such a project in their schools."
To find out more about Music Share, click here.